When a 99-year-old British World War II veteran died quietly in a nursing home last month, everyone thought his funeral would be a dismal affair with few mourners. A notice in the local newspaper and social media brought hundreds of attendants and served as a testament to the compassion and spirit of humankind.
Harold Jellicoe Percival, a Royal Air Force Bomber Command veteran, never married and had no friends to speak of, according to the BBC. The few remaining members of his extended family posted a notice in the local paper, saying, “Any service personnel who can attend his funeral service would be appreciated.”
The notice was soon picked up on Twitter:
So sad …. I do hope someone can attend pic.twitter.com/58Eif7QTwv
— living-the-dream (@middleaged_mom) November 8, 2013
Service personnel and civilians alike began making plans, and when the time came — the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, on Armistice Day — the chapel was filled to overflowing, and hundreds stood respectfully outside in the rain listening to the service as Percival was laid to rest with full military honors.
A mourner later tweeted this photo:
Mourners at Harold Percival’s funeral singing Jerusalem. 100 are inside with around 400 more outside. pic.twitter.com/BG4oDcH6uk
— Nick Garnett (@nicholasgarnett) November 11, 2013
Watch the coverage from BBC News.
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