Frank Percival is my 2xGreat Uncle or Arthur Bell’s daughter in law, Margaret Bell (My Mum) Nee Percival’s Great Uncle.
Frank Percival was the son of John and Sarah Ann Percival of Oldham. He was christened at Hollinwood Parish Church on 19 April 1878. Frank had one sister and four brothers, including Margaret Bell’s grandfather, Harry. Frank married Esther Lees at Hollinwood Chrich on 27 April 1898 and the couple had four children from 1899-1909.
Frank was employed as a fitter and resident at 33 Horsedge Street, Oldham when he enlisted in 24th (Oldham) Battalion Manchester Regiment on 15 March 1915. He was relatively tall at 5’ 9” and weighed 174 lbs. 24th Bn had been formed in Oldham on 24 October 1914. Four Companies had been recruited and in January 1915 it had been decided to enlist a fifth Reserve Company. Frank was posted to XVII Platoon of this E Company and undertook initial training at Lanfairfechan in Wales. 24th Bn later moved to Lark Hill with the other City Battalions and finally Lark Hill on Salisbury Plan on 12 September 1915.
Frank has been sentenced to 168 hours of Field Punishment No 2 at Lark Hill for using threatening language to an NCO, seemingly Lance Corporal W H Lees – who did not embark for France with the Bn. The punishment was later revoked.
Frank landed at Boulogne with 24th Bn on 9 November 1915 as part of 91st Brigade. The Battalion was transferred to 22nd Brigade of 7th Division in December 1915 and converted to 7th Division’s Pioneer Battalion on 22 May 1916. During the early months of 1916 24th Bn served in the Somme sector of the Western Front. Records indicate Frank was posted to D Company in April 1915.
Frank was taken ill in June 1916. He was admitted to 22 Field Ambulance suffering Pyrexia of Unknown Origin (medical term usually applied to Trench Fever) on 30 June 1916. Transferred to 34 Casualty Clearing Station on 2 July and No 2 Stationery Hospital on 2 July Frank was evacuated home on board Hospital Ship Panama and posted to Depot on 4 July 1916.
Following recovery Frank was granted furlough at home for nine days commencing 5 September 1916. He was subsequently posted to 3rd Bn at Cleethorpes on 15 September until he was transferred to Class W Reserve on 14 December 1916. Frank was then employed on war work at Ruston, Proctor & Co at Sheaf Iron Works, Lincoln.
Frank was discharged unfit on 8 February 1919. He received the Trio of Service Medals.