Hundreds pay final respects to veteran Ernest (101)

Hundreds of mourners travelled from around the country to give a fitting send-off to a 101 year-old war veteran following a public appeal on social media.


Clitheroe centenarian Mr Ernest Capstaff, who served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War, had left behind just a small number of relatives when he died recently.

But a Facebook appeal, shared thousands of times, saw veterans from all the armed services and other uniformed organisations attending the funeral at Accrington Crematorium.

Royal British Legion standard-bearers

Royal British Legion standard-bearers

As well as veterans, cadets and civic dignitaries, dozens of members from the Ride to the Wall group attended on motorbikes from around the country.

Royal British Legion standard-bearers greeted the flag-draped coffin which was carried in to the chapel as Vera Lynn’s wartime favourite “The White Cliffs of Dover” echoed through the autumn air.

The hundreds of mourners, many bedecked in regimental ties and berets, listened via loud speaker outside the chapel to the eulogies paid to Mr Capstaff.

Born in Northumberland, the remarkable gentleman grew up in New Zealand before moving back to England.

Mourners heard how Mr Capstaff had enjoyed a remarkable life, travelling the world, and even visiting both the North and South Pole by himself.

During the war he served as a technician, fighting alongside the Americans against the Imperial Japanese Navy, although he rarely spoke about his experiences.

Mourners heard how Mr Capstaff was a very intelligent man who had invented structures during his time in the navy.

A man with a great sense of humour he was said to always have a twinkle in his eye and would playfully hold two fingers up when being photographed.

The service ended with Vera Lynn’s “We’ll Meet Again” and “Wish Me Luck” before “The Last Post” was played as the Legion members poignantly lowered their standards.

Mr Capstaff’s family, who said they were overwhelmed with the support, invited everyone to attend Platt Social Club in Accrington for the wake.

RBL standard-bearers

RBL standard-bearers