Rank: Corporal
Number: S/3288
Unit: 13th Battalion RIFLE BRIGADE
Date of Death: 25 June 1918
Age: 23
Cemetery: St Amand British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France

Percy was the youngest son of John and Harriett Walton of 16 Beech Road, Heaton Mersey. His older brother was called Paul. He attended the local St John’s Day School and the Heaton Mersey Sunday School. When he had finished his education he went to work for local dyers and bleachers, Melland & Coward Ltd. He had been as keen member of the local Lads’ Club and had played for both the football and cricket teams.

His service papers still exist at the National Archives and these show him to have been very tall for those days, standing at 5’ 11”. Percy weighed 113 pounds and he had given his religious denomination as Wesleyan. For some reason, he did not enlist locally but joined up at Shaw near Oldham, on 10 September 1914. He was not a model soldier and found himself in trouble with the military authorities on more than one occasion. Whilst still in training, he went absent without permission overnight, on 30 June 1915, and was confined to barracks for 4 days. On 22 July, he went overseas and will have spent the next few weeks at a camp in France waiting to be assigned to his Battalion. On 31 July, he was in trouble again but the record is illegible. At the end of September, he was again confined to barracks for seven days. His offence was “not complying with an order” and he can think himself lucky that he did not receive a harsher punishment. It would seem, however, that once he joined the Battalion he settled down and, at the beginning of November 1916, he was promoted to Lance Corporal (and later to his acting rank of Corporal).

Most of June 1918 was spent in the safety of the reserve positions where the men carried out training exercises. However, on the night of 24/25 June, they moved back into the front line near the village of Bucquoy, relieving the 2/4th Battalion, Duke of Wellington’s Regiment. It was reported in the Stockport newspapers that, the next day, he was shot by a sniper whilst accompanying an officer and died about four hours later.

It will have taken some days for the official letter notifying his death to reach his family in Stockport and, some time later, his personal effects were sent home. They included letters, photos, a watch, mirror, gold ring, scissors and wallet.

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