March 1, 2013

A Final Salute from 300 Strangers

A final salute from 300 strangers: Royal Marine, 70, with no family gets a grand send-off after vicar rallies mourners on Facebook

They’d never met him and they knew precious little about him. But hundreds turned out yesterday to mark the passing of a former Royal Marine who died with no known family . . . or friends.  Some travelled hundreds of miles to the funeral of James McConnell in Portsmouth after a local vicar used Facebook to appeal for mourners.

 Royal Marine James Mcconnell
Yesterday, in the biting cold, a procession through the cemetery was led by Royal British Legion standard bearers  followed by a group of flag-bearing motorcycles from the legion’s riders’ branch.

 Crowd For Royal Marine

Two buglers from the Royal Marines band played the Last Post as Mr McConnell’s coffin was lowered into the ground.And mourners surrounded the grave with poppy wreaths – one with the poignant, handwritten message: ‘Stand at ease, your work is done.’

Mr Mason, who conducted the service at Milton Cemetery, told the estimated 300 who attended: ‘The great majority of you who have come here today did not know James McConnell but wanted him to have a dignified farewell.

‘I thank you for that kindness and generosity of spirit.’ After the ceremony he said: ‘It was a very cold morning, and people were shivering, but it is testament to the sacrifice people were prepared to make in order to attend.’

Well done

Posted by Jill Fallon at March 1, 2013 9:44 AM | Permalink