George Batey McPherson was born in Longtown on September 14, 1918, the second child of William and Alice McPherson.

He was named after his late uncle, Sergeant George McPherson, of Durham Light Infantry, who was killed in action in the Battle of The Somme in September 1916.

George’s father was manager of the Labour Exchange, superintendent of births, deaths and marriages, clerk to Kirkandrews-on-Esk parish council and school correspondent of Longtown School. His mother’s maiden name was Batey – her family ran a game dealer’s business in the town.

George went to Longtown School, played in the school football team, swam in the river Esk and generally had a good and carefree time.

When he was 14, he started to blow the organ at Arthuret Church. This was quite an onerous task, as it had big bellows with a handle and the well-respected organist practised every day, so George’s services were frequently required.

In May 1939, George was called up to the 1st Militia, serving at Hadrian’s Camp, before being transferred to Manorbier, South Wales.

This posting, at the start of World War Two, was to the Trials Wing, Experimental Unit, of Heavy AntiAircraft on cliff tops at Manorbier.

From South Wales, he travelled all over the country to various gun sites and was involved in The Blitz for a period.

He was glad to get away from London and, indeed, felt very lucky to survive.

George was demobbed in April 1946 and, later that year, came to Carlisle and officially joined the newly-formed Carlisle Fire Service, in which he served for 27 years, until September 1973.

His rank was sub-officer, in charge of Red Watch.

George was interested in sport all his life, playing football, tennis and badminton.

His hobbies were shooting on the marshes and fishing with haaf nets in the Solway.

Over the years, he loved speaking in the “Langtoon” dialect and also quoting snippets from Robert Burns.

George married May Parker, a Carlisle girl, on October 6, 1943 at Wigton Road Methodist Church.

They enjoyed seaside holidays throughout the country and were happily married for 67 years, until May’s death in 2011.

Eighteen months after May’s passing, George went into residential care at Barn Close, Stanwix, where he received excellent care during his final years.

He died there, aged 98, on Tuesday, January 17, and is survived by his two nieces, Vivienne Hopkins and Pamela Martin.

His funeral was held at Carlisle Crematorium on Friday, January 27, when he was given two guards of honour by serving and retired firefighters.

The funeral was arranged by George Hudson & Sons, Wigton Road, Carlisle.