9/5673/241979 Percy Walker………an update

Many thanks to Pery’s great grandson son Granville, who has very kindly sent me copies of family photos and Percy’s diary, we can now fill in Percy’s service with the Sherwood Foresters.

Born in 1882 in Wirksworth, Percy was a painter by trade, and by 1911 was living at 10 Chapel Lane with his new bride Florence.

1911 Census

Service with ‘E’ (Wirksworth) Company, the 2nd Volunteer Battalion of the Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment: 1902-1914

Percy enlisted into the 2VB on the 9th of February 1901 aged 19, and served with them until their disbandment on the 31st March 1908, during which time he rose to the rank of Corporal.

Private Percy Walker, most likely taken shortly after he had enlisted
A newly promoted Corporal Percy Walker
A group of men of the 2VB at a summer Camp. Percy is possibly the man sitting at the back drinking
“E” (Wirksworth) Company taken at Towyn Camp 1907; authors collection
Percy’s record of service with the 2VB; in total 7 years and 52 days

Pre-War Service with ‘E’ (Wirksworth) Company, the 6th Battalion of the Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment: 1908-1914

Percy enlisted into the 6th Battalion on its formation on 1st April 1908 and was given the early regimental number of 9. He was assigned to No. 3 Section of the Left Half Company Commanded by 2/Lt Francis Edward Wintle. E Company was Commanded by Captain Joseph Albert Wheatcroft.

Nominal Role of Letter “E” Company circa 1908; authors own collection
Sergeants of Letter E Company; Percy is on the far right. This was taken at the summer camp of 1910, which was at Hindlow.
1910 Summer camp and a group of men from E Company; Percy is standing on the left. Note there are a number of senior NCOs standing at the back in ‘Tunic Order’
Percy also attended the 1912 summer camp at Abermaide in Wales
Letter E Company at Abermaide Camp; Percy is kneeling on the 2nd row, 7th from the left
An unknown group of men at the 1912 camp; note the pioneer kneeling on the right
On parade at Abermaide Camp.

War Service with ‘E’ (Wirksworth) Company, the 6th Battalion of the Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment: 1914

Some time prior to the outbreak of the Great War Percy had been promoted to Sergeant

On the outbreak of the War Percy started to keep a diary, which now throws light on those early days of the War and the training undertaken by the North Midland Division in the Harpenden and Luton areas.

The cover page of Percy’s diary and it’s clear that ‘Nov 11th 1918’ was added at a later date.
Interestingly the first diary entry, dated Tuesday 4th August, details the short and ill-fated summer camp at Hunmanby.
On the 6th August, just 2 days after the mobilisation of the British Army, men of Letter E Company marched the 19 miles to the Battalion Headquarters in Chesterfield
On the 10th August the ‘men of the high peak’ marched the 12 miles to Ripley and on the following day the 10 miles to Derby.
On the 15th August, 10 days ofter mobilisation, the 6th Battalion along with the Sherwood Foresters Brigade of the North Midland Division left Derby on their way to the Luton area.
The individual Battalions of the Sherwood Foresters Brigade mobilising in August 1914; authors own collection.

Percy’s diary records the training that they undertook, such as route marches, outpost work and Company/Battalion Drill. During this time Percy and the other men of the Division were billeted in private residences and the diary provides the names and addresses of these houses.

A group of E Company men billeted with a family in Harpenden; these are possibly plans of Percy
The same man seen in the photo above; note Imperial Service Badge
A group of 1/6th Battalion men; Percy is on the 2nd row

War Service with the 2/6th Battalion of the Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment: 1914-1916

On the 14th November 1914 Percy was transferred to the newly formed 2/6th Battalion, which was Headquartered at Empire Hotel in Buxton and under the Command of Colonel Clayton
Empire Hotel in Buxton; authors own collection
War Diary of the 2/6th Battalion; authors own collection
Senior NCO’s of the 2/6th Battalion at Buxton; Percy is on the far left of the rear row
Unknown Corporal on the steps outside the Empire Hotel
On the 3rd March the 2/6th Battalion moved to Luton and then Harpenden to take over the transport and billeting arrangements from the 1/6th Battalion, which were due to embark for France
On the 19th February Percy was made Acting Company Sergeant Major
The 2nd North Midland Division was inspected by General Ian Hamilton
General Ian Hamilton would later lead the Dardanelles expedition

Overseas Service with the 1/6th Battalion of the Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment: 1916-17

In April 1916 Percy would have served for 8 years in the Territorial Force, which meant that he was ‘time expired’. It appears from his Medal Index Card, Medal Roll and Silver War Badge Role that this was the case and he re-enlisted (or was conscripted) into the Sherwood Foresters and was posted to the 1/6th Battalion and given the new regimental number of 5672. He arrived in France on the 12th August 1916 and it appears that he was still with the 1/6th Battalion at time of the Territorial Force renumbering in spring of 1917 (new number of 241979).

At some point, and for some reason (possibly through wounding), Percy was transferred to the 15th Battalion.

Medal Index Card
Medal Roll showing that Percy served in France with the 1/6th and 15th Battalions

Overseas Service with the 15th Battalion of the Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment: 1917

In May 1917 Percy was wounded (GW) with VI(I) [gunshot wound of back and spine (simple flesh contusions and wounds)] and IX(I) [gunshot wounds of lower extremities (simple flesh contusions and wounds)]. At the time of his wounding the 15th Battalion were holding the front line and support trenches.

Undated sick and wounded list
Record of the 31 Ambulance Train for May 1917
15th Battalion War Diary for May 1917
Wounded men at Great Bentley Council School Hospital; Percy is on the right
King’s Certificate of Discharge for Percy Walker; authors collection
King’s Certificate of Discharge for Percy Walker; authors collection

Percy was discharged in January 1918 aged 35 years and was awarded a Silver War Badge and a King’s Certificate of Discharge. He also received a pension.

Silver War Badge roll recording that Percy was discharged on the 17th January 1918 due to wounds
Embroidery done by Percy whilst in a convalescent home at Elland near to Halifax

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