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Person Details
Percy was born in 1890 in Doncaster and was the son of William Frederick, a brewery commercial traveller and Sarah Jane Sefton and the brother of John 1886 , Jeannie b1884, Cecil b1891 (killed in action 5/7/16 ), Sidney b1888, Charles Chester b1886 (died of wounds 31/03/1918) and Doris Irene Sefton b1893. Both William born in 1857 and his wife Sarah Jane born 1859 were born in Spalding, the family moved to Doncaster in the 1890's and their first five children were born there. Around 1895 they finally move to the Newark area and in 1896 their daughter Doris is born in the town. In the 1911 census the family are living at 9 Spring Gardens Newark , William is shown as head of the family 54 years and a commercial traveller in the brewery trade, he is living at the address with his wife Sarah Jane and their children, Cecil ,Doris and Sydney. The family later moved to Maple Dene Lime Grove Newark. In 1917 Percy married his wife May Thurston Ralph-Smith at Peterborough Following his death she remarried in 1919 and became the wife of Anthony H Bek , they lived at St Marten Parsonage, Holbeach Clough, Holbeach, Lincolnshire. The family must have been proud when following the outbreak of war four of their sons joined the colours in order to fight in the war, however their pride would soon turn to grief as Cecil was killed in action in France on 5th July 1916. Thankfully their next son to serve Sydney who enlisted on 13th November 1915 was to be discharged from the 4th bn London Scottish Regiment due to medical reasons on 3rd July 1916. Further tragedies were to come, when first Charles Chesterdied of wounds on 31st March 1918 and then Percy was killed in action on 22nd August 1918 , a terrible toll had been dealt on this family from which they would possibly never fully recover.
Percy began his working life at Wakes and Lamb in Newark before moving to the Western Electrical Company in London.
22 Aug 1918
868148 - CWGC Website
Second Lieutenant
13th Bn East Lancashire Regiment
Percy originally enlisted and served with the 5th battalion Middlesex Regiment, where he served with the service number G/87212 and attained the rank of Lance Corporal , he transferred to the Royal Army Service Corps where he attained the rank of Sergeant with service number 4847. On 27th March he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the East Lancashire Regiment. His medal index card shows he first went to France on 20th June 1918. He was killed in action on 22nd August 1918. He has no known grave and his name is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium
The following is an extract from the Magnus School, Newark diary of the 'Great War' Wednesday 28 August 1918: William and Sarah Sefton of Mapledene, Lime Grove, discovered they had lost a third son to this War. Cecil was killed in action on 3 July 1916. Charles had been missing since 21 March 1918 and they have given up hope that he had survived the massive German onslaught. And now a letter from a fellow officer, Jack Greenhalgh, informed them their youngest, Percy, 28, ‘received a direct hit from a large shell.’ The letter went on: ‘I was with him at the time and the day is one I shall never forget. We took over a section of the line on Thursday last and from the first, bad luck attended Percy. Within the first few minutes of taking over, two shells dropped into his post, killing five and wounding three. Like the very fine officer he was, he stuck to his post, dressed the wounded and cheered up the remainder of his platoon, setting them a fine example of pluck. There is no wonder that his men loved him … No words of mine can express how much we, his fellow officers, miss him; always cheery, helping one whenever he could, a fine example to officers and men. As I saw him lying there on the battlefield, Shakespeare’s grand compliment to Brutus flashed through my mind and I said unconsciously: ‘This was a man.’ Percy is dead but his spirit lives with us.’ An Old Magnusian who enjoyed football, cricket, rowing and swimming to proficient levels, Percy began his working life at Wakes and Lamb in Newark before moving to the Western Electrical Company in London. He enlisted in 1914 and received a commission in the East Lancashire Regiment; and was married early last year to May T Halph-Smith of Peterborough, who had been staying with his parents since he went abroad.
Remembered on