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Hundreds attend funeral of World War II veteran who died without family

- The Washington Times - Monday, November 11, 2013

Hundreds of fellow military veterans attended the funeral of a man they never knew — Harold Percival, a World War II airman who died without family.

Mr. Percival, who served as ground crew with the Royal Air Force during the war, died Oct. 25 at a nursing home in Lytham St. Annes in northwest England. He was 99, Haaretz reported.

The nursing home placed an advertisement in the local newspaper asking military personnel to attend the service.

"A single man, Harold has no close family who can attend his funeral," the ad read. "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 appreciated."

The ad was spread on social media, and several hundred soldiers, veterans and civilians showed up at the crematorium Monday in Lancashire to pay their respects to Mr. Percival, on the same day as millions around the country held a two-minute silence for Armistice Day, the Huffington Post U.K. reported.

The Rev. Alan Clark told gatherers they had "come in numbers surpassing anything that was expected. Not because you knew him, but because each of us has a common humanity," Haaretz reported.

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