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Hundreds attend funeral of Penge Dambusters veteran who died alone

PUBLISHED: 13:36 11 November 2013 | UPDATED: 13:36 11 November 2013

Members of the public, veterans and service personnel gather to pay their respects to Harold Percival at Lytham Park Crematorium, in Lancashire.

Members of the public, veterans and service personnel gather to pay their respects to Harold Percival at Lytham Park Crematorium, in Lancashire.

PA Wire/Press Association Images

The funeral of a war veteran, from Penge, who died with no close friends or relatives attracted more than 300 mourners for a moving Armistice Day service.

Harold Jellicoe Percival, who helped with the famous Dambusters raids during the Second World War, died in a nursing home last month aged 99.

A former ground crew member with RAF Bomber Command, Mr Percival never married, had no children and no close family members able to attend his funeral earlier today.

An online campaign was launched to encourage people to attend his funeral after injured soldier Sgt Rick Clement saw a notice of Mr Percival’s death in his local newspaper.

He was one of four siblings, but left a “nomadic lifestyle” after leaving the RAF at the end of the war.

His nephew, David Worsell, said: “He was a private man. He worked in Australia for a number of years as a decorator and would visit England for holidays.

“He didn’t have a postal address, he just used to get everything sent to my mother’s address and would go through it when they met up.”

After working in Australia, he later retired to England and lived at the Alistre Lodge Nursing and Care Home, in Lytham St Annes.

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