There are several people who took part in the Dams Raid still alive, so it was a bit of a shock to read on the BBC website that ‘the last of the Dambusters’ has just departed this life – and was buried in a decorated coffin which hardly seems a model of decorum. These coffins are made by a firm in Oxford who are obviously intent on turning funeral services into somewhat dubious branches of the entertainment industry. It’s run by a lady called Mrs Tomes, whose grasp of both history and geography seems a little tenuous:
‘We’ve had the last of the Dambusters, who had a plaque on the top with bouncing bombs, the white cliffs of Dover and Lancaster bombers. And we had an ice cream van man, who had ice cream cones on his. He had the van leading the parade and they all stood round the grave eating Magnums’ says Mrs Tomes.
[Memo to self: don’t tell jokes to your loved ones about how you want your funeral to be conducted. Like Peter Sellers, you could end up with a song you hate being played as your coffin is carried down the aisle.]