OVER a thousand people descended on Halesowen to pay their respects at the funeral of the town’s fallen hero Jonathan Crookes.
The town came to a standstill as his fiancee, family, friends, bandmates, comrades and townsfolk watched in silence as the Royal Marine’s Union Jack draped coffin was taken into St John the Baptist Church.
He was buried with full military honours after being killed whilst serving in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, on July 16.
Old soldiers and sailors from across the Black Country held aloft the black ribbon draped standards of their branches of the Royal British Legion under which the funeral procession proceeded outside the church doors.
There was standing room only in the church as over 600 mourners attended the emotional service which began with the Marine’s Prayer and was led by The Victory’s Rev Andrew Duff.
His 24-year-old fiancee Danni Davis bravely read the first eulogy where she thanked him for his ‘unconditional love’ and declared that they ‘loved each other to the moon and back’.
Jonathan’s brother Robert then gave an emotional speech about his ‘brave, inspiring and magnanimous brother’ who had inspired him to live a better life.
The Royal Marine’s sister Jane broke down in tears as she described what a wonderful brother Jonathan was before revealing that his mom Susan’s last words to her son were ‘I love you’.
Then one of Jonathan’s favourite songs, Jimmy Eats World - Hear You Me (Angels Lead Me In) then was piped through the church triggering tears from his friends and family. Reverend Duff then delivered an inspirational tribute to the fallen Marine in which he described the Halesowen hero as the ‘bravest of the brave’ and described his inspirational nature and action packed life.
He said: “Jonathan did so much in his life, I don’t know how he managed to pack it all in, but he was the perfect example of how a Marine should be.”
Rev Duff described Marine Crookes as a man ‘who loved adventure’ who’d joined the Royal Marines Reserve in 2005 and after excelling was was awarded the Commando Dagger for the best all-round recruit during training.
Then in a spine-tingling finale to the funeral service a lone Marine played a note-perfect rendition the haunting military standard The Last Post.
The uplifting theme to Rocky was played as his coffin and mourners exited the church. His body was then taken to St Kenelm’s Church where a private burial took place before the wake was held at Benjamins in Halesowen.