THE family of a 96-year-old Second World War veteran is calling for other veterans and military personnel to attend the funeral of a "true war hero".

Cyril Porter, who grew up in Doulton Street and lived all his life in St Helens and Billinge, died on November 5.

During the war, he was in the Navy having served as an Air Mechanic in the Pacific Fleet, most notably with HMS Indefatigable and the Arctic Convoys, for which he received the Ushokov Medal.

Due to his age and his beloved wife of 78 years Kathleen dying earlier this year, Cyril has very little family left.

With this in mind his proud granddaughter Amy Finnimore, who lives in Bristol, has got in touch with the Star to ask for other veterans and military personnel to come out to pay tribute to "a true war hero."

St Helens Star:

Cyril during the war

Mum-of-one Amy, 37, said: "My granddad loved St Helens and except for the war and last few few weeks of his life, he spent his whole 96 years there.

"He met my nan on Doulton Street, and they spent 78 wonderful years together before she died in July this year, and with him already having heart problems, he passed away earlier this month.

"He was a really proud man and would never allow himself to be called a war hero, even though that's exactly what he was.

"He didn't speak of the war much, but when he did he said 'those who didn't get to come home are the heroes, they are the ones we should call heroes', that's how he felt.

"But to us he was a hero and I'd hate to think that just because he's not got many family members left, that he wouldn't get the send off he rightly deserves."

Cyril joined the Navy in 1942 as soon as he was old enough to enlist and joined aircraft carrier HMS Indefatigable, famed for becoming a convoy escort duty to northern Russia.

His bravery in that campaign led to him being awarded, alongside his other surviving colleagues, with the Ushakov medal, which was presented to him personally.

At the end of that year his ship joined the British Pacific Fleet based in Sydney and spent the rest of the war involved in operations against Japanese bases in Sumatra, Okinawa and the Japanese home islands.

Indefatigable was the first British Ship hit by a Kamikaze attack in the sea battle off Okinawa.

After being demobbed he went back to being a decorator until 1948 when he joined the Fire and Ambulance Service and married the love of his life Kathleen.

St Helens Star:

Cyril is now reunited with his beloved Kathleen, pictured here on their wedding day

Talking about her granddad, Amy commented on his love of Saints, a fandom which stuck with him his whole life.

She added: "He played rugby when he was younger and even played in the amateur team run by Saints future chairman Harry Cook. Saints star centre Douggie Greenall was one of his team mates.

"He even continued with his rugby in the Fleet Air Arm, representing both the Navy and Combined Services.

"Even at the end of his life he made us pay and sort Sky Sports in the Care Home specifically so he could watch Saints play, he loved them that much.

"He was more than just a kind man, he was a hero and it would mean the world if the people and veterans in the town he loved so much would come together to give him the send off he rightly deserves."

Cyril's funeral will take place on Monday, November 25 at St Helens Crematorium from 3pm.