A VETERAN of the Battle of Britain was laid to rest in Henley on Monday.
Mike Croskell, who lived in Makins Road for more than 40 years, died on Thursday last week after a short illness. He was 95.
More than 30 people attended his funeral at Reading Crematorium in Caversham, where his coffin was draped in the Union flag as it entered the chapel.
The mourners included members of the Henley Probus Club, where he was a former chairman, and the Harpsden branch of the Royal British Legion.
Air Vice-Marshal Elaine West attended the service as a representative of the Prince of Wales. Mr Croskell was born in York and after school took up an apprenticeship with a railway engineering company.
He joined the RAF volunteers? service in 1937 and was called up fully at the outbreak of the Second World War.
He was a flight lieutenant for 213 Squadron when his Hurricane was shot down over Maidstone at the Battle of Britain on September 15, 1940.
Shortly afterwards he met his wife Mollie at RAF Holton, where she was a nurse. They were married in September 1941 and remained together for 62 years until her death in 2004. He moved to RAF Watchfield, near Swindon, in 1947 but didn?t stop flying. He joined British Airways in 1952 and stayed there until he retired. The place he loved visiting most was Germany.
Rev Duncan Carter, vicar of Holy Trinity Church in Henley, gave the service and paid tribute to Mr Croskell on behalf of the family.
He said: ?He fought through the Battle of France and the Battle of Britain and was one of the few to whom the country owes so much.?
The congregation entered the chapel to Dvorják?s Largo and sang the hymns Lord of All Hopefulness and I Vow to Thee, My Country.
Rev Carter read Psalm 23 before guests left the chapel to the sound of Louis Armstrong?s Wonderful World.Mr Croskell was a member of the Harpsden branch of the Legion from 1997 to 2009, when he moved from Henley to the Rush Court care home in Wallingford.
He was secretary of Bix Cricket Club and served as an umpire.
He is survived by his son John, three grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
After the service, a wake was held at Christ Church United Reformed Church in Reading Road, Henley.
Donations can be made in Mr Croskell?s memory to Great Ormond Street children?s hospital via funeral directors Tomalin & Son in Reading Road, Henley.