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Remembering Bomber Command veteran Harold Percival

Yesterday we learnt that a Bomber Command veteran, who recently passed away, had no remaining family to attend his funeral which takes place tomorrow, Armistice Day. What happened next is testament to the fact that the spirit of Remembrance lives on one hundred years after the First World War began. The RAF Benevolent Fund's Bob Kemp who will be attending the funeral, tells us more.

There has been a truly remarkable response to the story of the Bomber Command veteran who has sadly died. With no close family, it was feared his funeral would go unattended and unnoticed. 

After the funeral announcement for Harold Percival appeared in the local newspaper urging service personnel past and present to attend, Afghanistan veteran Rick Clement took to Twitter and Facebook to urge people to turn up and pay their respects.

Representatives from the RAF Benevolent Fund and the Bomber Command Association laying wreaths in memory of the 55,573 Bomber Command aircrew who lost their lives in WWII.The story has been picked up by a number of national news outlets and thousands of people have taken to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to pay their respects and encourage friends and acquaintances living nearby to attend.

In fact my daughter learnt about the funeral via comedian Jason Manford's Facebook page, and was able to let me know about it.

Remembrance Sunday services and parades have taken place across the UK today, commemorating the many servicemen and women who have died in conflict from WWI right up to, and including, the current conflict in Afghanistan today. 

I attended a Remembrance Service at the City Chambers in Edinburgh, a very moving service where a number of wreaths were laid in memory of those who have lost their lives defending our freedom. We also paid tribute to those who continue to serve bravely today in conflict zones far from home.

A Two Minute Silence took place at 11am today and many users of Twitter also marked the silence by taking part in a Two Minute Silence on Twitter. 

This amazing example of advocacy and mobilisation on social media demonstrates that the torch of remembrance has been picked up by the younger generation, using current technology to pass that torch on and ensure that future generations will remember the brave sacrifices of so many.

I'm delighted to be able to attend Mr Percival's funeral on behalf of the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund to pay our respects to this brave veteran of Bomber Command, who also served as part of the groundcrew on the Dambusters raid.

The funeral service is taking place at 11am on 11 November, Armistice Day, at the crematorium in Lytham St Annes, Lancashire.

By Group Captain Bob Kemp, RAF Benevolent Fund


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