In The News

Hundreds attend funeral of former RAF man

Hundreds attend funeral of former RAF man

SEVERAL hundred people have attended the funeral in England of a former R.A.F. man after the Funeral Director had revealed there was a risk that no one would be there to pay their last respects.

Harold Jellicoe Percival had been a member of the ground crew who prepared the planes for the famous Dambusters Raid in World War II. When he passed away at the age of 99 at a nursing home in Lytham St. Annes, Lancashire, the local funeral directors Roland L. Whitehead and Daughter (see below) revealed in the death notice that Mr. Percival had ‘no close family who can attend his funeral’. The notice continued: ‘Any service personnel who can attend his funeral service would be appreciated’.

The appeal was taken up by people on social media and responses included a pledge from the R.A.F. Benevolent Fund that a number of members would be attending.

Mr. Percival never married and following his service in the R.A.F. worked for many years in Australia, returning to Britain for holidays. He eventually returned to live in England. He was said to be a very private man who did not form many long-term friendships.

Staff at the Alistre Lodge Nursing Home in Lytham St. Annes recalled how former serviceman, who was originally from Penge in south London, would occasionally talk about his time in the R.A.F., describing how the planes from Bomber Command would return from raids riddled with bullets.

Fittingly, the Funeral Service was arranged to take place at 11 a.m. on Remembrance Day. The Dambusters theme was played as his flag-draped coffin was was carried in to Lytham Park Crematorium. The last post was also sounded (see below).

Among the hundreds of mourners were serving members of the forces as well as many former service men and women, including members of the Royal British Legion and the Royal Air Force Association.

Members of the Lytham Community Choir sang during the Service.

To visit the website of Roland L. Whitehead and Daughter Funeral Directors, click here.

To view footage of the Last Post being sounded during Mr. Percival’s Funeral, click here.

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