Hundreds Turn Up to Lay Lonely Veteran to Rest After Obit Goes Viral

Courtesy Danny Savage/BBC

As an unmarried man, Harold Jellicoe "Coe" Percival, a former World War II soldier, may have been lonely in life, but as he was being laid to rest today at the age of 99, the veteran was anything but alone.

In a truly heartwarming story, about 500 complete strangers showed up to attend Percival's funeral in Lancashire, United Kingdom, after a picture of his obituary, stating the man had "no close family who can attend" went viral.

"Any service personnel who can attend his funeral service would be appreciated," the heart wrenching obit read.

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Twitter user middleaged_mom snapped a photo of the obit, posting it to her account with the caption, "So sad … I do hope someone can attend."

The post was retweeted more than 400 times, gaining the attention of local media and hundreds of others who helped spread the message.

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Despite the rain, roughly 500 people showed up to honor the former RAF bomber command ground crew member who had passed away Oct. 25 in his nursing home.

"It was a wonderful sendoff for the old boy," the director of the funeral home, Roland Whitehead, said. "When we collected Harold from the nursing home, there were no close relatives, friends. He was bit of a nomad, he wandered the world."

It was a "very special atmosphere," BBC News correspondent Danny Savage told of the funeral service. "All but a handful didn't know him."