JIM Blackborow was born with salt in his blood and relished the scent of battle, whether in the ring or against Britain's naval foes.

Upon the shoulders of six ratings from HMS Severn which is Newport's twinned ship, his body was taken into St Stephen's Church in Pill, not far from where, 84 years ago, he was born.

It was a fitting tribute to a naval man who served in several theatres in Second World War during which he was mentioned in dispatches and who was the son of intrepid explorer Perce Blackbarrow.

Mr Blackborow joined the Royal Navy in 1941 and at the age of only 22 was promoted to Chief Engine Room Artificer. Shortly afterwards he volunteered for Combined Operations and was sent to the US to collect fleet landing craft in which he later saw action at Anzio as well as operations in Sicily, Malta and Palermo. He also served in the Far East. Whilst on duty at a Devonshire naval base he met a Wren, Rose, whom he shortly thereafter married and who remained his devoted companion.

Representatives of Newport's sporting community were prominent at the funeral.

During the war Mr Blackborow had been Royal Navy and Combined Forces middleweight boxing champion, Ulster middleweight champion and Welsh ABA champ. After his return from the war he played rugby for Newport and Crosskeys and Edinburgh Wanderers after he was recalled to a naval base in Scotland after the outbreak of the Korean War.

Following his return to civilian life he became deeply involved with the Welsh Amateur Boxing Association and as trainer at St Julian's Boxing Club in Newport.

Mr Blackborow is survived by Rose and three children. The service was followed by burial at St Woolos cemetery which was conducted by the the Reverend Father Edward Mathias Jones.

Doug Piddington of the Royal Naval Association said: "Jim Blackborow was a strong man who used his powers for the benefit of others. There never was a finer shipmate."

As the sounds of the Last Post and reveille faded from the graveside mourners drank a tot of Navy neaters' in final farewell.