Funeral appeal for WW2 RAF man 'Lee' who died with no family

By Lucy Todman | Oswestry | News | Published:

An appeal has been made for mourners to attend the funeral of a former airman who has died without any family.

Harold 'Lee' Tracey in his RAF days

Harold 'Lee' Tracey died on May 16, at the age of 93.

The RAF veteran suffered a stroke and never recovered.

As he had no next of kin, he was to receive a pauper’s funeral, but thanks to the assistance of the RAF Association and its contacts in the military and charity sector, he will instead receive a proper military funeral, with personnel from RAF Shawbury bearing his coffin on the day.

His funeral will take place at Emstrey Crematorium, Shrewsbury on Tuesday at 11.30am.

Standard Bearers from the RAF Association’s Shrewsbury Branch will attend, as will representatives of the local RAF Air Cadets and the Royal British Legion. Members of the public are welcome to attend.

Mr Tracey was born in Northern Ireland in 1926. His father, an RAF officer, died when he was five-years-old, and he and his sisters were given up for adoption by their mother two years later. Mr Tracey grew up in an English orphanage, which he described as 'a terrible place'.

Upon leaving the orphanage, he got a job with photographic company Kodak and also joined the Air Training Corps.

He was enlisted in the RAF in 1943 and quickly moved to RAF Intelligence.


He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant, and posted to Egypt, India and Iraq, where he worked on cryptography and surveillance. He left the RAF in 1947.

He continued throughout his life to be involved in intelligence, and invented a number of surveillance systems and devices, including the Scanlock Harmonic Receiver.

It is understood he worked for the security services until 1970, and then worked as a freelance consultant.

In 1978 he founded the company Audiotel International, which to this day remains a market leader in surveillance equipment.


Mr Tracey met singer and actress Maria Wagg while at work, and the two fell in love and married in 1961. They had a long and happy life together and moved to Oswestry in 2002.

Following the death of his wife in 2014, Mr Tracey became lonely and isolated.

Thanks to the RAF Association, of which he had been a lifetime member, he was given support and companionship to help him through this difficult time.

He was introduced to a befriender, RAF veteran Nick Nicholson, who met with him on a regular basis, offering companionship.

He also received financial support from the RAF Association to help him purchase a new fridge freezer and television, and was provided holiday accommodation at a Wings Break hotel with other veterans.

Lucy Todman

By Lucy Todman

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star and Shrewsbury Chronicle based in Shrewsbury.

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