1885 - 1916
CPL David Wallace Crawford
1887 - 1916
Lce-Corpl John Joseph Nickle
1894 - 1916
Pte 17911 Morton Neill
1897 - 1916
Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft
1883 - 1918
2nd Lieut Percy Lancaster
- Age: 24
- From: West Kirby, Cheshire
- Regiment: MCG 122nd Bn
- Died on Friday 15th September 1916
- Commemorated at: Thiepval Memorial
Panel Ref: Pier and Face 5c and 12c
Percy Lancaster was born in Hoylake on 24th February 1892, the youngest son of Charles Holland Lancaster and his wife Ada Mary (née Lea). His parents, both born in Liverpool, married in 1878 and had eight children. Percy had older siblings Sidney James, Cora Mary, Elsie Gladys, Eric Basil (died in infancy), Ida Doris, and Harold, and a younger sister Dorothy.
His sister Cora died in spring 1894 aged 12, and his mother also died in November that year, aged 37, when Percy was two years old, leaving his father with seven children under 15 years old. Her gravestone in St. James Cemetery reads,
“A light is from our household gone,
A voice we loved is still,
A place is vacant at our hearth,
Which we can never fill”
In 1901 his father, a rating surveyor and architect, with four children and a housemaid, is living at 22 Kings Gap, Hoylake. Percy is 9.
Percy attended the Leas School in Hoylake, then Rossall School in Fleetwood, Lancashire.
The 1911 census finds them at 15 Lingdale Road, West Kirby, with a cook and a housemaid. His father, 58, is listed as an architect, Elsie, 27, and Dorothy, 17, have no occupation, Harold, 20, is an apprentice iron merchant, and Percy is 19, an apprentice cotton broker.
He was a very keen sportsman, playing Cricket for Birkenhead Park CC and Cheshire, football for Liverpool Ramblers and Lancashire, and was a member of the Royal Liverpool Golf Club.
Prior to the war he was employed in the Cotton Trade with D F Pennefather.
He married Eva Adelaide (Evie) Russell of Hightown in August 1914.
He enlisted at St George's Hall, Liverpool joining the 17th Battalion of The King's Liverpool Regiment with the service number 15222. He attained the rank of Corporal before he was commissioned as Temporary Second Lieutenant in the 17th Bn K.L.R. on 6th July 1915 (Gazetted 19/8/1915) and was later promoted to Second Lieutenant. Percy arrived in France on 17th May 1916.
He was billeted at Prescot Watch Factory from 14th September 1914, he trained there and also at Knowsley Hall. On 30th April 1915 the 17th Battalion alongside the other three Pals battalions left Liverpool via Prescot Station for further training at Belton Park, Grantham.
Percy would have been training at Knowsley near Liverpool when Evie died at her parents’ home on 05th November 1914, aged 22. She is buried in St. Helen’s (Sefton Church).
His medal roll shows he was attached to the Machine Gun Corps.
The 122nd Machine Gun Company joined the 122nd Brigade, 41st Division in May 1916. They were in action at The Battle of Flers-Courcelette on the Somme.
He was killed in action on 15th September 1916 aged 24. His body was not recovered from the battlefield or was subsequently lost as he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.
Percy’s death was reported in the Liverpool Echo on 30th September 1916:
“Second Lieutenant Percy Lancaster, killed on the 15th inst., was educated at the Lees School, Hoylake, and at Rossall, where he gained prominence as an athlete. He was the hurricane hitter of Birkenhead Park C.C. In business he held an important position in the firm of D.F. Pennyfather and Co. Joining on the outbreak of war, he acted for some time as bombing officer of the reserve battalion of the Liverpool "Pals" but being particularly anxious to get to the front he transferred to the Machine Gun Corps, with whom he was serving when he met his death. He gained his Lancashire cap at Association football, and represented Cheshire at cricket. He headed the batting averages of the Birkenhead Park Cricket Club on more than one occasion. He was a prominent member and committeeman of the well known Liverpool Ramblers A.F.C., and was considered by many to be one of the finest amateur forwards in the country. He was a keen golfer, being a member of the Royal Golf Club. He married in August 1914, Evie, daughter of Mr. H. Russell, of Hightown. Her death took place, unfortunately, four months after marriage.”
His death was also reported in The Sportsman on 29th September 1916:
“Sec. Lieut. Percy Lancaster, King’s (Liverpool) Regt., who has fallen, was an old Rossalian and a good, all-round athlete”, with a list of the clubs of which he was a member.
An In Memoriam notice was placed in the Liverpool Daily Post on the first anniversary of his death:
“In proud and loving memory of Percy Lancaster, second-Lieutenant, M.G.C., killed in action September 5, 1916, near Flers, Somme. (If I should die think only this of me, that there’s some corner of a foreign field that is for ever England.) - H.L.” (His brother Harold?)
His brother Harold served as a 2nd Lieutenant in the King’s Liverpool Regiment. He survived the war and died in 1964.
His father died in 1924 aged 72, leaving an estate of over £44,000. He was buried with his wife in St. James Cemetery, where his headstone reads “He was loved and respected by all”.
Percy is commemorated on the following memorials:
St Andrew's Church West Kirby
St Bridget's Church West Kirby
Birkenhead Park Cricket Club
Royal Liverpool Golf Club
Liverpool Ramblers Football Club
Hoylake & West Kirby Memorial
St Stephen's Church Hightown
Liverpool Cotton Association
Leas School, Hoylake now situated in St Hildeburgh's Church, Hoylake
Rossall School, Fleetwood
Killed On This Day.(103 Years this day)
Thursday 19th September 1918.
Pte 88128 John William Rimmer
33 years old