EMOTIONS ran high as a courageous sailor was given a hero’s send-off.
Albert Norris dodged death countless times during the Second World War to transport life-saving aid and supplies to Russia and Malta.
And yesterday dozens of friends and family gathered to say their final farewell to ‘a true gent’ and ‘war hero’.
The union flag draped the casket of the decorated Second World War veteran as he was carried into Portchester Crematorium.
A small detachment of veterans from the Royal British Legion carried standards and saluted as Mr Norris arrived in his hearse.
The 96-year-old – known as Bert – died on October 9 and was one of a handful of veterans left in Britain from the famed Arctic Convoys.
As well as the union flag, the sailor’s treasured white Arctic Convoy beret was placed above his casket.
Son Graham, of Gloucestershire, said: ‘He was a real gentleman and was a navy man through and through.
‘He was so resilient and so determined. He was the greatest dad we could have asked for. He was a hero.’
Mr Norris’s grandchildren Paul and Geraldine both made emotional readings about their grandad.
The funeral was conducted by Father Mike Sheffield – who was Mr Norris’ priest at St George’s Church, Waterlooville.
He said: ‘Bert is remembered as a man who is patriotic and a man who was brave.
‘He was loyal and is much a real gentleman who knew how to behave.’
Mr Norris was born in Southsea, living in Greetham Street as a boy.
After leaving school he joined the Royal Navy, staying for 14 years as an artificer.
He fought right the way through the Second World War, survived being torpedoed and was involved in the hunt for the German battleship Bismarck.
During his service, he made six treacherous Arctic Convoy runs to Russia.
He was also part of the desperate relief operation to supply a besieged Malta with urgent supplies in 1942.
Mr Norris left the navy and moved to Waterlooville, where he took up dancing and swimming. He spent 47 years married to Eileen, who died in 1989.
Son Phil, of Sittingbourne, Kent, fought back tears during his dad’s funeral.
He said: ‘We are so proud of him.’
Mr Norris leaves behind his two sons, four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren and sister Peggy, 90.