Percy Frederick Watson was baptised at St Andrew’s, Rugby, on 14 January 1900. His birth address was 9 Charlotte Street, Rugby. His parents were Frederick Watson (b 1870 in Rugby), a Post Office overseer, and Eleanor Jane Watson, née Elkins (b 1873 in Rugby). Percy was educated at the Lower School and was then employed as a clerk by Messrs. Styles & Whitlock, auctioneers, Bank Street, Rugby.
He joined the RAF in October 1917 where he was given flying training as a Flight Cadet. On 12th August 1918, whilst on a practice night flight near the North-East Coast with 2nd Lieut Francis W P Reynolds of Merton Park, Surrey, his aircraft failed at a height of 500 feet and fell to the ground. Due to the severity of his injuries, Percy lived for only 15 minutes.
It was reported in the Rugby Advertiser of 17th Aug 1918 (the same edition that recorded the death of Flight Cadet Gibbs in a similar accident):
FATAL ACCIDENT TO CADET PERCY F. WATSON.
While flying on the North-East Coast late on Monday night Cadet Percy Fredk Watson (18), son of Mr F Watson, Post Office overseer, Ormdale, Murray Road and Lieut Reynolds, Merton Park, Surrey, met with an accident, and received injuries which shortly afterwards proved fatal. Cadet Watson was educated at the Lower School, and until he joined the R.A.F in October last he was employed as a clerk by Messrs Styles & Whitlock. He was a bright lad with a genial disposition, and he was very popular with all with whom he came in contact. A fortnight before the accident he visited his home on leave.
At the inquest on Wednesday it was stated that the two men were engaged in a practice flight at night. Half-an-hour after they ascended the aeroplane was seen to tale a sharp vertical turn at a height of 500ft, and was nest observed in flames on the ground. Both men were shockingly injured, and Watson only lived a quarter-of-an-hour, and his companion five hours.—Verdict : “ Accidental death.”
He was buried in Clifton Road Cemetery, Rugby in a grave which is the responsibility of the CWGC. He is also remembered on the Lawrence Sheriff Memorial Plaque
At the time of his death, Percy’s parents were living at 111, Murray Road, Rugby.
RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM