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Joseph Percy was the son of William Blythe and Lucy Blythe (nee Ketton). William Blythe was born in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, and Lucy Ketton in Upton, Lincolnshire. They were married in 1877 (J/A/S Nottingham) and had five children of whom only four survived: Beatrice Maud b. 1879 (J/A/S Nottingham), Grace Winifred birth registered 1884 (J/F/M Nottingham), Joseph Percy birth registered 1886 (J/F/M Nottingham) and Albert Henry b. 8 May 1888 (A/M/J Nottingham). In 1881 William (25), a barman, and Lucy (26) were living on Toll Street, Nottingham, with their two-year old daughter Beatrice. They were still living in the city centre in 1891, now with four children, Beatrice (11), Grace (7), Joseph (5) and Albert (2). William probably died in 1894 (O/N/D Nottingham) at the age of 37 His widow was living at 36 Albert Grove, Lenton, by 1901 along with her four children Beatrice (21) a dressmaker on her own account, Grace (17) a packer, Joseph (15) a printer's apprentice and Albert (12) who was still at school. There were also two boarders in the household, Charles Haseley (30), an accountant, and George Watson (48) a sewing machine agent. By 1911 Lucy (56) was living at 28 Teversal Avenue, Lenton Sands. Only Joseph (26) and Albert (23) who were both lace warehousemen, were still living at home. There were three boarders in the household, Elizabeth Rae (32) a domestic science teacher, John Hales (58) a barman and Arthur Henson (23) a photographer. Lucy was still living on Teversal Avenue when she was notified of Joseph's death in 1918. Beatrice had married William Edward Jackson in 1908 (O/N/D Nottingham) and in 1911 they were living at 33 Wordsworth Road, Nottingham, with their one year old daughter, Doris Lucy (birth registered 1910 J/F/M Nottingham). It is likely that Doris died the following year aged one year (burial 30 December 1911). Beatrice died on 16 December 1916 aged 37; she and William were then living at 56 Norton Street, Radford. Grace had married Robert Henry Price in 1909 (A/M/J Nottingham) and in 1911 they were living at Coke Ovens, Pinxton, Alfreton, Derbyshire, where both were employed. They had one child, Mary Winifred (1 month), and Robert's younger sister, Bertha Price (11) was also living with them. The family later emigrated to Australia. Albert may have served in the Army Service Corps during the war as there is a record of an Albert Henry Blythe (T/254546 Private RASC) who qualified for the British War Medal and Victory Medal. Albert probably married Gladys B Robinson (b. 16 June 1892) in 1923 (A/M/J Nottingham) and in 1939 they were living in Bentinck Buildings, 15 Wheeler Gate, Nottingham, where Albert was caretaker and lift attendant. Albert died on 23 December 1962.
In 1901 Joseph was a printer's apprentice, but by 1911 he was a lace warehouseman.
27 May 1918
1438378 - CWGC Website
He was living in Lenton when he enlisted in Nottingham
South Nottinghamshire Hussars
He was drowned when HMT Leasowe Castle on passage from Alexandria, Egypt, was sunk in the Mediterranean His body was not recovered for burial and he is commemorated on the Chatby Memorial, Alexandria. The following account is by a local resident, posted on the Woodborough village website. The Hussars had been fighting in the Middle East and they were returning to France where they were to be re-formed as a machine gun company. Their new title was to be the South Notts Machine Gun Battalion. They were sent to Alexandria, Egypt and had received orders to embark on a transporter ship called the "Leasowe Castle" on 23th May 1918 ¹. On 27th May, the ship was struck by a torpedo with devastating results. A very detailed account of the fateful journey may be read in the historical records of the South Notts Hussars Yeomanry by G. Fellows. The "Leasowe Castle" was one of a convoy of six transporters and they were accompanied by a number of destroyers. The weather was good, the sea was calm and a brilliant moon shone in the night sky. At 1.30 am on May 27th 1918 when the ship was about 104 miles from Alexandria, the "Leasowe Castle" was struck by a torpedo on the starboard side. The engines were immediately stopped. The troops mustered to their stations, rolls were called, boats lowered and rafts flung overboard. The Japanese destroyer "R" stood by, while the remainder of the convoy continued on their journey at full speed. We are informed that perfect order was maintained on board, the men standing quietly at their stations as if on parade, while those detailed for the work assisted in lowering the boats. Lifeboats were launched in the course of forty five minutes and the rescue attempt continued smoothly. The "Leasowe Castle" remained fairly steady, though sinking a little at the stern, with a slight list to port. All of 'B' (Warwickshire Yeomanry) Company of the Battalion went over the port side and were picked up in the water. About 1.45am. HM sloop "Lily" appeared having turned back from the convoy to assist in the work of rescue. She ran her bows up to the starboard side of the "Leasowe Castle" and made fast, so that troops were able to pass quickly on board. Meanwhile the Japanese destroyer put up a smoke screen for protection. Suddenly about 3.00am a bulkhead in the aft part of the ship gave way, and with a loud noise the "Leasowe Castle" sank rapidly. The "Lily" had a narrow escape, as the hawsers connecting her with the sinking ship were cut with an axe just in time.
Nottingham Evening Post, ‘Deaths’, 20 December 1916: ‘Jackson. On December 16th at 56, Norton-street, after long suffering, patiently borne, Beatrice Maud, the dearly-beloved wife of WE Jackson, and eldest daughter of Mrs Blythe, 28, Teversal-avenue, aged 37 years.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Nottingham Evening Post, Roll of Honour (abridged), 12 February 1919: 'Blythe. Reported drowned May 27th 1918 Joseph Percy Blythe eldest son of Mrs Blythe, 29 Teveral Avenue, mother, brother Albert, sister Grace in Australia.' Nottingham Evening Post, ‘In Memoriam’, 27 May 1919: ‘Blythe. In loving memory of my dearly loved son, Percy, 1/1st South Notts. Hussars, lost on the Leasowe Castle May 27th, 1918. To-day recalls sad memories. Sadly missed by sorrowing mother.' (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)
Remembered on