Victor Charles Perry was the sixth of the ten children of George and Sarah Perry, born in Aston, Birmingham in Sep Quarter 1897. His father was born in Dublin, his parents according to the 1911 census had been married for 27 years, probably in Ireland as their five eldest children were born in Co Waterford. The couple moved to Birmingham around 1893, between the births of their fifth and sixth children.
George seems to have been prosperous. In 1901 he was aged 41, living with his wife, nine children aged 9 months to 15 years, and three servants at Oakfield House, Yardley Road, Aston. His occupation is given as the “director of a gin distillery and rectifier of British wines”.
In 1911 they are in Stechley, at “Home Lea”, Richmond, a very large house with 14 rooms. George was a self-employed wine merchant, assisted by his sons William and George. Victor was 14, but no occupation is given.
Victor’s connection with Rugby has not as yet been uncovered, but as he is remembered on the Old Laurentians Roll of Honour it seems he attended or had connections with the school after 1911. He did enlist at Warwick according to Soldiers Died in the Great War, and must have done so before September 1915 when his medal card records that he was sent to Egypt. He joined the 1st/1st Warwickshire Yeomanry as Private 2530, but later became Trooper 310565 in the Corps of Hussars.
The Yeomanry fought at Gallipoli as unmounted troops in August 1915, and suffered heavy losses. Victor maybe joined these forces after this as he arrived in Egypt in September, and the regiment was withdrawn in October. Perhaps he never reached Gallipoli but remained in Egypt. The Warwickshire Yeomanry was assigned to the Australian Mounted Division in February 1917 where it served as cavalry in Palestine. It was part of the XXI Division, 5th Mounted Brigade of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) led by General Allenby, to regain territory in Egypt (then a British Protectorate) and Palestine and drive back the Ottoman forces with the aim of capturing Jerusalem from the Turks. It saw action in the First and Second Battles of Gaza in the spring of 1917.
The EEF had already decided to invade Ottoman territory before the first battle of Gaza, on the basis of Britain’s three major war objectives: to maintain maritime supremacy in the Mediterranean, preserve the balance of power in Europe, and protect Egypt, India and the Persian Gulf. Despite the EEF’s defeats during the first two battles of Gaza (with about 10,000 casualties), Allenby planned an advance into Palestine and the capture of Jerusalem to secure the region and cut off the Ottoman forces in Mesopotamia from those in the Eastern Mediterranean and on the Arabian Peninsula. The capture of Gaza, which dominated the coastal route from Egypt to Jaffa, was a first step towards these aims.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Beersheba_(1917) – cite_note-27
The Battle of Beersheba, on the edge of the Negev Desert and some 75km from Jerusalem, took place on 31 October 1917, and it was here that Victor lost his life. It was a very intense attack, with much shelling and mortar fire, and close fighting to take the enemy trenches. The mounted divisions which included the Warwickshire Yeomanry suffered artillery and aeroplane attacks, causing a great deal of confusion among the men and horses.
The town was eventually taken by the Desert Mounted Corps. There is a good account of the battle on wikipaedia.
Victor was buried in the Beersheba War Cemetery, established after the battle. His back pay of £8.10.5d and a War Gratuity of £13.10s were forwarded to his father George.
RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM