Lonely Obituary Draws Hundreds to WWII Vet's Funeral

Harold Jellicoe Percival never married or had kids

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 11, 2013 12:00 PM CST

(Newser) – WWII veteran Harold Jellicoe Percival died last month at age 99, leaving no close family behind. So the funeral home organizing his service put a note in the UK man's obituary asking that "any service personnel who can" come to the funeral today, the BBC reports. The obituary went viral on Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit, Gawker reports, and hundreds of people showed up at the service. Since 100 people packed the crematorium, 400 more stood outside, despite the rain.

The family members who were able to attend the funeral (a nephew, great-nephew, and great-niece, per the BBC) expressed their gratitude. "He was a quiet man, he was an ordinary man who did his duty and served in the war and to see so many people turn up, it's just overwhelming," said the nephew. Another nephew, who could not attend, called his uncle "a private man" who led a "nomadic" life, including backpacking through England and living in Australia and New Zealand. He never married or had children. You can see his obit on Twitter.

Undated photo of 99-year old war veteran Harold Jellicoe Percival who died in October 2013 with no known close friends or family.
Undated photo of 99-year old war veteran Harold Jellicoe Percival who died in October 2013 with no known close friends or family.   (AP Photo / PA)
Members of the public, veterans, and service personnel gather to pay their respects to Harold Percival at Lytham Park Crematorium, Lytham St. Annes, England, Monday Nov. 11, 2013.
Members of the public, veterans, and service personnel gather to pay their respects to Harold Percival at Lytham Park Crematorium, Lytham St. Annes, England, Monday Nov. 11, 2013.   (AP Photo/PA, Lynne Cameron)
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"I'm on leave, currently, from Afghanistan," said one attendee. "And as today's Remembrance Day, and out of utmost respect for the veterans ... I thought I had to come. It's one of my duties to come."   (Newsy)

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