Harold Percival was a veteran who had served with the Royal Air Force during World War 2. He died on October 25th 2013 in Lytham St Annes, England, at the age of 99. After realising he had no friends or relatives alive, his nursing home placed an advertisement in the local newspaper asking military personnel to attend the funeral service, expecting a humble turnout to pay their respects to this fallen hero.
What happened next was remarkable. In response to the advert, hundreds of soldiers, veterans and civilians gathered at the crematorium overnight to pay their respects to Percival.
In fact, so many people had attended that the roads around the crematorium were blocked with traffic, with the crowds spilled out of the building, the Daily Mail reported.
Percival served as ground crew on the famous Dambusters raids carried out in May 1943.
The Dambusters theme was played as his coffin, wrapped in the Union flag, was carried in to the crematorium.
Many of those who attended the ceremony were dressed in military uniforms, and they applauded as the hearse carrying his coffin arrived.
The Reverend Alan Clark told mourners they had “come in numbers surpassing anything that was expected. Not because you knew him, but because each of us has a common humanity.”