UK
09/11/2013 14:15 GMT

Harold Jellicoe 'Coe' Percival: ‘Hundreds Of Strangers' To Attend Funeral Of Veteran Who Died Alone

A Second World War veteran is set to have the send off he deserves, thanks to the power of an emotional appeal and social media.

Hundreds of people are expected to attend the funeral of a man they never knew after it emerged he died with no close friends or relatives.

veteran

Former serviceman Harold Percival

TODAY'S TOP STORIES

Harold Jellicoe Percival, a distant relative of Spencer Perceval - the only British prime minister to be assassinated - helped with the famous Dambusters raids during the Second World War.

He died last month aged 99 in a nursing home.

A notice in the local Lytham St Annes Express newspaper highlighted the veteran's heart-rending case.

It read: "A single man, Harold has no close family who can attend his funeral. He served in RAF Bomber Command as ground crew during the Second World War.

"Any service personnel who can attend his funeral service would be appreciate."

Poignantly for the ex-military man, his funeral service will be held at 11am on Armistice Day.

But Mr Percival, who served as ground crew with RAF Bomber Command, never married, had no children and has no close family members able to attend the service at the Lytham Park Crematorium, Lytham St Annes, in Lancashire.

Those involved in organising the funeral say they have been contacted by veterans' groups and other military supporters keen to acknowledge Mr Percival's career.

Edmund Jacobs, of Roland L Whitehead and Daughter funeral directors, said: "We're hoping a few faces will turn up and show their support for a war hero.

"It doesn't sit well with me that somebody who has served their country can be forgotten about, that his service can go un-noted.

"I am sure he would have had a few stories to tell."

Sergeant Rick Clement, who lost both his legs in a blast in Afghanistan, took to Facebook to urge servicemen and women to give the veteran "the send off he deserves"

He wrote: "I need a big favour from any military or ex-serving members. This fallen solider at 99-years-old is having a funeral on Monday and he has no family to attend.

"If you're in the area, give him the send off he deserves. This guy needs and deserves your help."

His campaign has gone viral with hundreds of social media users sharing the appeal.

The service takes place at 11am on Monday, at Lytham Park Crematorium.