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Captain, 18th Battalion Manchester Regiment.

Killed in action 30th July 1916, age 21.

Buried in Delville Wood Cemetery, France.

Student of chemistry.


 

Percy was born in 1895 at Sutton, Surrey to Alfred James and Emily Augusta Blythe of Swinton. HIs father was master of the Swinton Schools of the Manchester Poor Law Guardians. He was educated at Manchester Grammar School and joined Manchester University in 1913 to study chemistry.

Percy joined the University Officer Training Corps as an emergency recruit on the outbreak of war and was gazetted on 21st September 1914. In early 1916 he was awarded a Military Cross: “For conspicuous gallantry. During an enemy bombardment five men were buried in a dug out by the explosion of a shell. Lieutenant Blythe collected a party, and, working himself with pick and shovel, dug them all out and placed them in safety. During 55 minutes 107 heavy H.E. shells fell close to where he was working.”

Not long after returning from a spell of leave at home, Percy lost his life during fighting around Guillemont in late July 1916. In a letter to his family a Lieutenant Statham noted that Percy “was wounded in the arm, but continued to lead his men with conspicuous gallantry, and was reported to have been hit a second time, and was subsequently surrounded by Germans. By that it is assumed that he is now a prisoner of war.” The commanding officer wrote “I recommended him for a reward immediately after the action at Guillemont on 31st July, 1916, for his courage and gallantry in rallying his company, which had suffered severe casualties, when, although wounded himself, he continued to lead his men against a portion of the position that was held in high strength by the Germans. How strong that position was we were only to learn weeks afterwards, for as you are aware the village was not finally taken till the month of September. I have the warmest admiration for your son, and his loss to the battalion was deeply felt by all of us.”

Percy’s brother, Norman Harry, was killed on 3rd August 1916.