Hundreds of people in Lythem, England, gave a salute to the past this week. They attended the funeral of Harold Jellicoe Percival, a man many of them never met.


Mr. Percival died at the age of 99. He served with the Royal Air Force Bomber Command during the Second World War. He worked as a ground crew member servicing planes as they prepared to fly over Germany, bombing dams and other targets.

INSKEEP: He never married, had no immediate family; so few mourners were expected. In fact, his nephew said he thought two or three people might turn up.

WERTHEIMER: A funeral home put an ad in the local paper that said, quote, "Any service personnel who can attend his funeral service would be appreciated."

INSKEEP: And that appeal spread on social media until yesterday. Hundreds showed up for his funeral.


WERTHEIMER: And those people applauded as the car carrying Harold Jellicoe Percival's remains arrived. Not everyone could fit into the chapel for his service. Hundreds stood outside in the rain.


INSKEEP: About 400 in all paid their last respects as a bugler played "The Last Post," the British version of "Taps."

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

WERTHEIMER: And I'm Linda Wertheimer.


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