The Men from Hyde – Percy George Perry

Percy George Perry was born in Winchester, the son of Albin George Perry, a gas lamp lighter. Albin had been born and bred in Winchester, the son of a fellmonger (a dealer in hides or skins, particularly sheepskins).

Albin married Emily Harfield in 1885 in Winchester and they went on to have three children: Ethel Selina (b 1886), Percy George (b 1888) and Arthur Albin (b 1890). In the 1891 census the young family is living at 54 Wharf Hill.

In the 1901 census Percy George (13) and Arthur Albin (11) are staying with their aunt and uncle, Lucy and Alfred Perry, at 45 Cheesehill Street (now called Chesil Street). This may have been due to their mother Emily being ill as she died shortly afterwards.

Three years later in 1904 Percy’s father Albin married Bertha Ward in Winchester, and they went on to have their own children. In the 1911 census Albin and Bertha are living at 39 St Catherine’s Road, Highcliffe, with their children Hilda Dorothy Evleny (6), Edward Arthur Albin (5), Daisy Gertrude Gladys (3) and John Thomas William (1). Albin is a retired policeman, now working as a grocery storeman.

In the same census Albin’s youngest children from his first marriage are working as domestic servants: Francis (18) is working for a landowner in Winchfield (between Hook and Fleet); Alice (14) is working for a family at 21 Romsey Road.

By 1911 Percy George Perry had enlisted in the 12th King’s Lancers and at the time of the census was based at Potchefstroom, 50 miles south west of Johannesburg, South Africa. It seems he left the army and re-enlisted in August 1914 when he was given the regimental number GS/69524. Percy became a Trooper in the 7th Battalion (Extra Reserve) Royal Fusiliers (London Regiment), formerly 139 12th Lancers & 897 Army Veterinary Corps.

In August 1914 the battalion was stationed at Finsbury, London, then moved to Falmouth in Cornwall. In July 1916 the soldiers were mobilized for war and landed at Le Havre, remaining on the Western Front for the remainder of the war.

At the start of 1917 Percy married Harriet Marsh at South Stoneham (outskirts of Southampton). Percy’s army record gives the address of his wife as 14 Canada Road, Woolston (south of Southampton, nr Netley).

A short time later Percy’s father Albin died in Winchester, aged 53.

During 1918 Percy’s regiment was involved in The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of Albert, the Second Battles of the Somme, The Battle of Drocourt-Queant, the Second Battles of Arras, The Battle of the Canal du Nord, The Battle of Cambrai, and the Final Advance in Picardy.

Percy was Killed in Action on 9th May 1918. The circumstances of his death are not known; there was no particular battle fought at the time. He was 30 years old. Percy is buried in the Mesnil Communal Cemetery, about 6 km north of Albert. Mesnil was close to the Allied front line from March to August 1918.

Percy’s older brothers served in the war too. [Arthur] Albin enlisted in November 1914 as a sapper in the Royal Engineers and served in Mesopotamia [Iraq] and India; Frank [Francis] enlisted in September 1914 as a private in the Royal Air Force and served in France. Both brothers survived. All three brothers are listed in the Winchester War Register as living at 21 Victoria Road.

Percy’s widow Harriet cannot be traced. There appear to have been no children.

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