RFA West Lancs Bdes
681752 GNR. P. G. JONES. R.F.A.
Percy Gainham Jones was born on 6 April 1896 in Everton and baptised at Everton St Saviour on 10 May. His father was Thomas Jones (b. 1869 in Everton), a life assurance agent. His mother was Leah Ellen Maud Clegg (b. 1872 in Kirkdale). Tom and Leah were married in 1895; Percy was their first child, followed by Leslie (b. 1903) and Jessie (b. 1913). They also had another child who did not survive. In 1911, the family was living at 213 Lisburn Lane, West Derby, Liverpool. At the time, Percy aged 14 was still at school.
Percy was 18 when War broke out and appears to have had some experience in the Territorials. When he joine the Royal Field Artillery he was assigned service number 603 and posted to “D” Battery of 276 Brigade. His service number was later changed to 681752.
276 Brigade formed part of 55th (West Lancashire) Division. Percy landed in France with his Division on 29 September 1915. 55th Division fought at Guillemont and Ginchy (on the Somme) in September 1916, suffering severe losses especially at Guillemont. They also fought at Flers-Courcelette and Morval later that month, and then in October 1916 they were moved to the Ypres Salient, at the time a relatively quieter part of the front. Although there were no major engagements in early 1917, there was constant harassment, shelling and raids.
photo kindly supplied by Wayne Finch
1917: Third Battle of Ypres
From 55th Divisional History: "The objective of what was called the Third Battle of Ypres was the capture of the enemy's Gheluvelt-Langemark system... The weather during the whole of June and during the greater part of July had been ideal for campaigning purposes. Unfortunately, on Sunday 29 July a particularly heavy thunderstorm filled up the shell holes and turned roads and tracks into a morass. The succeeding days were dull and hazy, making the completion of the artillery preparation peculiarly difficult and typical Flanders weather conditions prevailed on the morning of the 31st - the moment chosen for the attack. Low lying clouds which made aerial observation and cooperation as difficult as could be imagined; a dampness of atmosphere, threatening rain at any moment; a half sodden ground, greasy and depressing; such was the luck of the weather at 3.50am on 31 July 1917, when the barrage opened. Not since the war began had so intense a barrage been put down, and of its wonderful effectiveness all ranks in the line bore eloquent testimony."
Percy Jones died on 8 August 1917 of wounds received during the fighting of the opening days of the battle. He died at the military camp of Étaples, on the Channel coast, meaning he had been evacuated from the front line and was on his way back to England, but he never made it. He was 21 years old.
Service No: 681752
Date of Death: 08/08/1917
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery, “D” Bty, 276th Bde.
Grave Reference: XXII. O. 6A.
Cemetery: ETAPLES MILITARY CEMETERY
Additional Information: Son of Thomas and Leah Ellen Maud Jones, of 213 Lisburn Lane, Tue Brook, Liverpool.