Hundreds attend lonely veteran’s funeral in England

Nov 12, 2013, 4:36 AM | Updated: 5:29 am

A World War II veteran died peacefully on Oct. 25 in a nursing home in St. Annes, England, but he got the sendoff he deserved Monday.

Harold Jellicoe “Coe” Percival’s obituary in the newspaper caught some eyes and eventually gained traction on Twitter, Facebook and Reddit, according to Gawker.

Percival’s obituary said he had no close family to attend his funeral. It also asked, “Any service personnel who can attend his funeral service would be appreciated.”

Sgt. Rick Clement, who served in Afghanistan, stepped forward and asked people to attend.

Between Clement’s request and Percival’s obituary circulating on the Internet, a big crowd turned up at his funeral Monday, undeterred by a storm in the area. The Blackpool Gazette reported Saturday that “hundreds of people” — mostly ex-service personnel — pledged to pay their respects to Percival, who was 99 when he died. Percival’s nephew, David Worsell, planned to be in attendance as well.

Mr Percival was born in Penge, South London in 1914.

Mr Worsell revealed his uncle came to live the later years of his life on the Fylde coast after a period of travelling.

He had no children, was never married and it is believed moved from hotel to hotel, having lived in Australia for much of his life after the end of the war in 1945.

Mr Worsell added: “One of his great regrets was that he left the RAF. He never stayed in one place for very long and didn’t really say an awful lot about his experiences. As far as I know, he never really had any friends and was a bit of a loner.”

Twitter photos confirm that, indeed, a sizable crowd showed up to give him a proper sendoff.

Well done, humanity. Now that’s what you call getting the word out.

APS

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Hundreds attend lonely veteran’s funeral in England