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Monday, November 11, 2013
Veterans Day Funeral Attended by Hundreds After UK Airman's Obituary Goes Viral

Veterans Day Funeral Attended by Hundreds After UK Airman's Obituary Goes Viral

After an obituary regarding the death of a World War II asked retired and active duty service members to attend because the deceased had not known relatives, hundreds came out to honor the man who had served his country so vigilantly.

Harold Jellicoe Percival served as ground crew for the famous Dambusters air raid, which targeted dams in Nazi Germany's Ruhr Valley in order to disrupt the Nazi's industrial activities, in May 1943,

Percival was unmarried and had no children and died Oct. 25 month at a nursing home at the age of 99. A local newspaper ran the obituary with a note that encouraged service members to attend his funeral, fearing that no one would show up.

When news of the funeral, which was scheduled for Monday, spread throughout social media, several hundred showed up to pay their respects.

The funeral took place in Lytham St. Annes, in northwest England. So many people showed up that hundreds stood outside in the rain in appreciation of his service.

During the service, military standard-bearers and uniformed troops lined the sides of the cortege, which was draped with the British flag and covered with flowers.

"It's just staggering," his nephew Andre Collyer-Worsell told The Daily Telegraph. "We were expecting a few people, a few local veterans, but suddenly it snowballed. It's the sort of send-off you would want to give any loved one. It's very emotional."

In keeping with English tradition for veterans the service began at 11 a.m. and was accompanied by a two-minute moment of silence. It's an annual occurrence for those across the U.K. to reflect on fallen soldiers.

War historians say that the bombing raids were crucial in debilitating Hilter's regime. The bombs dropped during the Dambusters raids made Germany allocate crucial time and resources to repairing their destroyed infrastructure.

Percival was from south London and then lived and worked in Australia after the war. He spent his last years in a nursing home in Lytham.

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