THE WORLDPOST
02/22/2013 01:51 pm ET Updated Feb 22, 2013

Royal Marines Veteran James McConnell's Funeral Attended By 200 Strangers After Facebook Plea

A crowd of more than 200 attended a British veteran's funeral after a vicar posted a plea on Facebook asking people to step forward to honor the deceased man.

According to BBC News, most of the attendees at James McConnell's funeral had not known him when he was alive.

McConnell, who served with the U.K.'s Royal Marines, died last month at the age of 70 in a Southsea, Hampshire, nursing home.

ITV News reports that staff at the home were concerned no one would attend McConnell's funeral, as the veteran did not have any close relatives.

To prevent this from happening, Reverend Bob Mason, a local vicar, stepped in and posted the Facebook message and contacted the Royal Marines Association (RMA).

"In this day and age it is tragic enough that anyone has to leave this world with no one to mourn their passing, but this man was family and I am sure you will agree deserves a better send off. If you can make it to the graveside for that time to pay your respects to a former brother in arms then please try to be there," Mason wrote on Facebook.

According to NBC News, the vicar's message was shared by members of the RMA and "thousands of other Facebook users."

On Feb. 21, throngs of people showed up at McConnell's graveside service.

"I thank you for that kindness and generosity of spirit," Mason told the crowd, according to local paper The News.

"It was mentioned wrongly that he did not have family: the corps family is bigger and better than most people would know about. We are all family and always will be," Danny Marshall, a former Royal Marine who attended the funeral, told BBC.

For more, click through this slideshow to see images from McConnell's funeral:

PHOTO GALLERIES
Royal Marine funeral

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