WALSH, Percival

Walsh, PSecond Lieutenant, 8th Bn. The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment

Born

December 1896.
The only son of the late Percival and Mrs. Agnes Walsh, formerly of Belmont Tce, Tiverton.

Education

Blundell's School, “a “Day Boy” from the age of 12; September 1913 -  Summer 1914.
He was school Monitor for 1913–14, a member of the 1st XV and of the shooting VIII at Honiton and Bisley.  His character profile as a member of the 1st XV in 1914 read “P.W. (9st) A distinct success as a scrum half though he played his best games in the early part of the season; feinted well, and set his backs in motion most successfully.”  He left Blundell’s in October 1914 with a high mathematical scholarship at Trinity College Cambridge and after staying there two terms, joined the army in the North Lancashires.

Service

He was wounded in the spring of 1915 but the wound never ceased to trouble him; he had some weakness with his heart whilst at school which had sometimes interfered with his games. The day before his death, he had written home saying he was quite well.

Death

8th July 1916, aged 20, in Puchevillers.
During the night of 7th/8th July 1916, he was wounded again but it was not thought to be serious and nobody expected his death. “We shall pull through” were almost his last words. In a letter home to his mother, his commanding officer wrote “Previous to his being wounded on the night of the 7th – 8th July, he had been twice recommended for the Military Cross for gallantry and devotion to duty.  He got his wounds, one in each leg, while with his Company holding the front line trench of a portion of the German position which had been captured by our troops on the 1st July.  The stretcher bearers managed to get him safely away but with great difficulty owing to the shallow nature of the trench and the close proximity of the Germans.  I did not see him myself after he was wounded, but I was told that his wounds were not very serious but that he was suffering from shock. The wounds were caused by shrapnel which must have burst very near him.”  The Blundellian commented, with unusual bitterness, that his death caused the loss of “One of the most promising lives that might have been spent in something higher than subaltern work in the field... Percival Walsh, [was] one of the most brilliant pupils of Mr. Thornton.[Mathematics]”  He was taken to the 44th Casualty Clearing Station at Puchevillers but died later that day.

Burial/Commemoration

Grave I. B. 53; Puchvilliers British cemetery.
Puchvilliers is a village about 19km north-east of Amiens.  In June 1916, just before the battle of the Somme, the 3rd and 44th Casualty Clearing Stations came to Puchevillers and Plots I to V and almost the whole of Plot IV were made by those hospitals before the end of March 1917.

Memorial

His headstone is at 50°00’22.9” N 002°23’45.9”E
The family chose to have the inscription “Thy Will Be Done”.

Research

Commonwealth War Graves Commission - www.cwgc.org
The National Archives, Public Records Office, Kew  WO 339/31406?
“The Register of Blundell's School, Part II 1882 – 1932” (1932) MAHOOD, A.S., Ed. Entry No.5292
“Cemeteries & Memorials in Belgium & Northern France” (2004) Commonwealth War Graves Commission. 25/497
The Blundellian, July 1916 p 247
Field visit (JEA & GRY 30/7/2006)

 

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