Hundreds attend funeral of WWII veteran who died a solitary man

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Harold Jellicoe Percival

LYTHAM ST. ANNES, U.K. — Royal Air Force veteran Harold Jellicoe Percival died peacefully at age 99, but his death caused concern. Percival was described as a ‘solitary’ man without many close relatives or friends, which prompted a funeral home to urge service personnel to attend his funeral with this obituary.

The obituary served as a call to action for many, including Sgt. Rick Clement, a British soldier who had lost both of his legs after a 2010 explosion in Afghanistan. Upon seeing the obituary, Sgt. Clement put a plea on social media and in the Blackpool Gazette urging attendance, saying, “If you’re in the area give him the send off he deserves. This guy needs and deserves your help.”

Local newspaper Lytham St. Annes Express reports that so many people were in attendance on Monday, a crowd numbered in the hundreds spilled outside of the crematorium. A nephew of Percival’s told the newspaper that the service attendance was, “staggering.”


“It just shows how great the British public are. We were expecting a few people, a few local veterans but it suddenly snowballed,” Andrew Collyer-Worsell told the Express. “It’s the sort of send-off you would want to give any loved one.”

Percival worked as a ground crew member for the Dambuster Squadron in the Royal Air Force. He worked as a painter and a decorator according to the Express and spent time traveling in both Australia and the United Kingdom.

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