Percy OLDHAM
Rank: Private
Number: 266696
Unit: 9th Battalion CHESHIRE Regiment
Date of Death: 28 September 1918
Age: 23
Cemetery: Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais, France

Percy was born in the Bosden area of Hazel Grove/Bramhall, the son of Mrs Elizabeth Oldham. The name of his father is not absolutely certain but a man named George Oldham married Elizabeth Jones in a civil ceremony at Stockport between 1881 and 1885.

At the time of the 1901 Census, Elizabeth Oldham was aged 46 and working as a charwoman. George Oldham (possibly the same man) was aged 50 and working as a joiner and builder. Both lived in the Hazel Grove area. Financial constraints on this research project have prevented an examination of the "pay to view" part of the Census, which confirm family relationships. As well as Percy, the Census lists three older children born in Bosden who are, presumably relatives - they were Joe (aged 7), Lizzie (9) and Sarah (11).

Percy's original service number, 4395, indicates that he joined one of the Cheshire Regiment's Territorial Battalions - Stockport's local one - the 6th. The number was issued about the beginning of 1916 and Percy would have gone on active service a few months later, after training. He will still have been with the 6th in January 1917, when the Territorial soldiers were all issued with six digit service numbers. At some later point, he will have been transferred to the 9th Battalion. This was possibly after recovering from wounds or illness and the Army decided the 9th was in greater need of replacements.

On the day Percy was killed, he is thought to have been a member of a platoon from "D" Company ordered to raid a small section of the German trenches. Such raids were regular occurances and were intended to capture prisoners to gain intelligence. The element of surprise was usually the best weapon but, on this occasion, it was to no avail. Whilst the raiding party managed to capture one prisoner, they were discovered by an enemy machine gun post. The Battalion's War Diary notes that 11 soldiers had been killed and another 2 posted as missing. Later records confirm 12 deaths, including Percy. They probably died in No Man's Land which would have meant it was impossible to bury them. Few now have a known grave.

Further information about Percy is contained in the book "Hazel Grove to Armageddon" by John Eaton.

   
           
   
     
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