John Percy Grayling of the 7th Lincolnshire Regiment
The next meeting of the Group is on 16 July at 7pm in the Library at Trinity Catholic Schoool, Leamington Spa.
This is a new Great War story which Mary finished researching recently after a WW1 Ancestors Study Day we held on 3 June in the Leamington Museum and Art Gallery.
John Percy Grayling
John Percy, known as Percy, was my husband David’s uncle. He was the eldest brother of his father and was born on July 22nd, 1899. He had seven younger siblings. In the 1901 Census he lived in Walton, Suffolk with his grandparents – John and Elizabeth Grayling with nine other family members (and a boarder) at the Pier House. John Grayling at this time was the Pier Master at Felixstowe Docks. By the 1911 Census he was living in Felixstowe, Suffolk at 5 Beach Stations Cottages with his parents, three brothers and a sister. He attended Felixstowe Central School.
World War One service
I have not found out when he joined up but he would have been eighteen in July 1917. He was a Private in the Lincolnshire Regiment, 7th Battalion. This was a service battalion, part of Lord Kitchener’s Second New Army that was raised to call men to arms in September 1914. Percy would have been under the command of the 51st Brigade in the 17th (Northern) Division. The battle of Passchendaele began on July 18th, 1917 lasting ten days and this was followed by the infantry attack on July 31st. By the end of August this area in Flanders became a swamp and was impassable. However Percy must have survived these battles.
In 1918 he would have fought in the First Battles of the Somme (21st March – 4th July) and the Battle of Amiens (8th-11th August), the Battle of Albert, Battle of Bapaume, Battle of Havrincourt and the Battle of Epehy were all phases of the Hindenburg Line and Percy’s final places of action.
Last days of the War
Sadly he died at the age of nineteen years during the Advance to Picardy and Artois, between the Somme and the Loos. His death was recorded on November 8th, 1918 on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial (Panel 4) in Pas de Calais, France. He was one of 9834 casualties that fell between August 8th and Armistice Day November 11th, 1918. He is also commemorated on the Felixstowe Memorial which is on the Sea Front Promenade adjacent to Bent Hill. He was awarded two medals – the Victory and the British medals posthumously for serving his country. His parents, John and Caroline Grayling must have been devastated at losing their son so near the end of the conflict.