IT was a fitting farewell to one of Southampton’s heroes.
There was standing room only as mourners packed a church to pay their respects to the city’s oldest D-Day veteran.
And there was no better place for a perfect send-off than in St Joseph’s in Bugle Street, where Ernie Spacagna, who died at the age of 99, was christened almost 100 years ago.
Pews were filled to capacity as Ernie’s coffin was carried in, bearing his regimental beret and wartime medals that he was never seen without at the annual Remembrance Sunday services.
During the service Ernie’s son, Paul Spacagna, spoke of his memories of his father – including being one of the first people to get a television and his time as a hairdresser to stars including rock ’n’ roll idol Tommy Steele and Saints legends Sir Alf Ramsey and Terry Paine.
Paul told mourners how his father never forgot the names of everyone who fought beside him and lost their lives during the Second World War. He recalled how he and his father visited their graves when they travelled to Normandy together on the 60th anniversary of D-Day. Paul also spoke of how his father had been heartbroken when his wife Kathleen died eight years ago.
He said “Now we will grant him his final wish – to lie in peace with mum.”
A 24-page D-Day supplement is inside today's newspaper.