Percy Edward Byatt

Percy Edward Byatt
Born in St Ives in 1888, Percy was the middle child in a family of two boys and three girls. The family home was in four rooms at North Road, St Ives. Percy's father, Edward, was employed as a rope maker and one of the town's fireman. In 1911, aged 22yrs, Percy was still living at home, employed as a litho printer for Enderby & Co Ltd.

Percy was an accomplished sportsman. He played football for St Ives Town and Hunts County, with reports in the Hunts Post on 28 March 1913 and 5 December 1913. He also took part in Enderby's Sports day on 11 July 1913, winning the 120yds hurdle handicap & men's 100yds handicap with scratch.

In late 1915 Percy married Edith Harrod. He had already signed up with the Hunts Cyclists and been transferred to the 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, as reported in the Hunts Post on 4 June 1915. He fought in several engagements, including the Battle of the Somme in the latter half of 1916.

Battle of the Somme
British soldiers preparing to advance on the first day of the Battle of the Somme
In 1917 Percy took part in the Battle of Arras. At 4.45am on Monday 23 April 1917 German positions in front of La Coulotte were attacked. The Bedfordshires managed to capture trenches, battling through uncut wire, but came under heavy machine gun fire. The situation was so hopeless the commanding officer, Lt Colonel P R Worrall, requested permission to withdraw. This was refused.

It was during this engagement that Percy was killed in action, aged 29yrs. Another St Ives man, Herbert Butler, was killed in the same battle on the same day. Percy has no known grave and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, France.

Percy's death was reported in the Hunts Post on 4 May 1917 and 11 May 1917. He is remembered on his parent's gravestone in Westwood Road Cemetery, St Ives, with the following words "Percy Edward Byatt. Killed in action in France April 23 1917 aged 29 years. He sleeps beside his comrades in a hallowed grave unknown, but his name is writ in letters of love on the hearts he left at home."

A sad sequel is that Percy's mother died on 26 October 1918 after a long illness "her great sorrow (from the loss of her son) undoubtedly led to her fatal illness."

Do you have a photograph of Percy or any additional information? If so, please get in touch via the make contact page.

Source materials
Click any of the links below to view original source materials.
1891 Census
1901 Census
1911 Census
Commonwealth War Graves Register
Commemorative Certificate

No comments:

Post a Comment