Percy was born in 1890 at Stroud in Gloucestershire, the third of the four children of William Henry Hodge and his wife Annie nee Holmes. The other children, William, Mabel and Elsie, were all born in Bath as was their mother, and in all three censuses listing the family they are living in Bath, on the eastern outskirts at Twerton, south of the river Avon. William Hodge was a steam engine maker/turner in 1891 and living at 32 Brook Street with his family which also included his wife’s sister Fanny Holmes. Annie’s birth was registered as Hannah Maria, the name under which she married William in 1880 in the Barton Regis registration district which covered St Georges Bristol where they were living in 1881. In 1901 she is named as Anna, and in 1911, when she signs the census form herself, she is called Annie.
William died at the end of 1900, but his family remained in Twerton, although they had moved to 36 Triangle by 1901, and to 54 Ringwood Place by 1911. At this time Percy is an engineer’s pattern maker in an iron foundry, which would probably have been the reason he moved for a greater opportunity to Rugby to work in the pattern shop of British Thomson Houston (BTH) as recorded in the Rugby Advertiser at his death.
According to Soldiers Died in the Great War, he lived in Bath but enlisted in Rugby in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, No A/2811. When he died he was a Corporal in the 8th Battalion which was sent to Boulogne on 15 May 1915, seeing action at Hooge in July 1915 and the second attack on Bellewaarde in the same year. The Battalion was involved in the action at Delville Wood during the Battle of the Somme in July 1915, Percy was killed in action the following month aged 26, and is commemorated on the memorial at Thiepval as well as on the BTH Memorial in Rugby.
The Rugby Advertiser of 23 September records his death among the local casualties, saying that he enlisted at the start of the war when he lived with his brother at 183 Oxford Street. His Commanding Officer wrote “He was in the front line with his squad of bombers preparatory to an attack on German trenches when a big shell landed on the trench killing him and two or three others. He was buried where he fell.” The Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists 51 men of the 8th Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps who died on that day and are commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial as well as 79 men from other KRR Battalions.
Percy was awarded the British and Victory medals as well as the 1915 Star, having been drafted to France in May 1915. His effects (£9.16s) and a War Gratuity of £10 were awarded to his mother Annie.
RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM