Plea for mourners to attend funeral goes viral online

The submarine service badge
The submarine service badge
Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson. Pictute: LPhot Ioan Roberts

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A RALLYING cry for mourners to attend the funeral of a forgotten veteran has been put out by the Submariners’ Association.

Rodney ‘Vic’ Silvester, from Fareham, died last week, aged 67 and the service was arranged by his cousin but few people were expected.

But an internet campaign means many more will go along.

The call was put out by the British Legion, Supporting Veterans in Care and the Submariners’ Association are calling for people to attend.

It went viral online and has been seen by thousands on the Supporting Veterans in Care Facebook group.

Georgett Cooper, from the Co-op, said: ‘It’s so overwhelming how kind these people are being.

‘I spoke to his cousin and he said how overwhelmed he is. It’s just amazing.’

Bill Williams, secretary of the Submariners’ Association Gosport branch, said he remembered Vic from when they served on HMS Odin.

Bill said: ‘We are a band of brothers and we stick together.

‘Even though Vic was not a member of the association, we’re still there to see him off and to support anybody who knew him.

‘He was a member of the brotherhood and a fellow submariner.’

Stuart Roberts, admin officer for Supporting Veterans in Care, said: ‘We didn’t want Vic to be another forgotten hero, that’s why we spread the campaign.

‘His friends are no longer here, so we didn’t want to send him off alone.’

Vic had served for many years in the Royal Navy and trained at HMS Dolphin in 1968, before serving on HMS Odin and sailing to Sydney, Australia, in 1972, as an Engine Room Artificer.

After six months serving in Australia, he returned to the UK and it is believed he spent the rest of his career on nuclear submarines.

Not much is known about Vic, who earned his nickname from Victor Silvester, a dancer, author and musician, but when he passed away in a nursing home, carers went into his home in Beaufort Avenue and found mementos from his service career.

Vic became a recluse in his later years following the deaths of his friends and family.

The funeral will be held at 2.30pm tomorrow at Fareham Cemetery, Wickham Road.