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Forces War Records Blog

GREAT SEND OFF FOR WWII VETERAN DIMINISHED FEARS THAT HIS PASSING WOULD BE FORGOTTEN

Blogger: GemSen A WWII veteran soldier with no close friends or relatives was given a great send off yesterday, on Armistice Day, as hundreds of mourners — most of whom never knew him — attended his funeral. Harold Jellicoe Percival, born in Penge, south London, in 1914, once served as ground crew with RAF Bomber Command, never married and had no children or close pals.

A public appeal was started after funeral directors in St Annes, Lancashire, posted a message in their local newspaper about Mr Percival and their fears that this war hero’s passing would be forgotten. After the plea, the crematorium was actually unable to hold the numbers of people at his funeral, which began yesterday at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month – how poignant. Apparently, Mr Percival’s coffin, had a distinctive blue RAF flag on top, and was brought into the crematorium to the sound of the theme from Dambusters — a nod to the famous squadron that he once served with. ITV news reported that other veterans, members of the public, and serving men and women attended the funeral of Mr Percival, who  died last month, aged 99, in a nursing home. Mr Perceval was a distant relative of Spencer Perceval - the only British prime minister to be assassinated. As the two-minute silence was held, hundreds stood still in the rain at Lytham Park Crematorium, before the Last Post was played and Mr Percival's coffin was removed from the hearse to a round of spontaneous applause, reported ITV. Mr Percival was described as a very private person, spent some time in Australia after leaving the RAF at the end of the war, but eventually returned to the UK where he settled in Lancashire. He was mugged and robbed in Blackpool and was cared for in the Alistre Lodge Nursing and Care Home in Lytham St Annes until his recent death on October 25. Lorraine Holt, matron at the nursing home that Mr Percival spent his final years, said: “It was completely overwhelming, something we did not expect at all, this huge turn-out. We have lots of veterans at the home and each and every one of them should be remembered like this.” Source: ITV

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