Stent, Percy Victor. Died 25th Sep 1915

Percy Victor Stent was born on the 25 June 1892 in Thames Ditton, Surrey. He was baptised on 28 August 1892 at St Nicholas Church, Thames Ditton.

Percy’s father George was born in Morden Surrey and his mother, Elizabeth, in Sunbury, Middlesex.

Three of Percy’s siblings had also been born in Thames Ditton Surrey between 1891 and 1895.   This is where Willans and Robinson had The Ferry Foundry works, before moving to Rugby in 1896. Percy’s father obviously moved the family to Rugby and in 1901 the family were living in 25 Windsor Street, Rugby. Percy’s father George was an Electric Machine Driver in a Foundry (no doubt at Willan’s Victoria Works).

In 1911 Percy lived with the family at 28 Worcester Street, Rugby and his father was a Labourer in the Engineering Works. Percy was a coremaker and his elder brother, Thomas, was an iron moulder (again possibly all at the Willans Victoria Works).

Percy enlisted into the 5th Battalion of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, Regimental number 10555. The battalion was formed at Oxford in August 1914 and placed under orders of 42nd Brigade in 14th (Light) Division. Following training, he would have landed with his Battalion in France on 20 May 1915.   He was fighting in the action to capture Bellevarde Farm, a diversionary action for the Battle of Loos, on 25 September 1915 and was killed in action. (See more about the Battle of Bellevarde Farm and the Battle of Loos on Rugby Remembers.)

At some stage Percy was promoted to Acting Corporal. Percy was awarded the Victory, British and 1915 Star Medals.

Percy Stent is remembered on the Ypres Menin Gate Memorial and on grave no. N169 in Clifton Road Cemetery, Rugby. He is also remembered on the Rugby War Memorial.



7th Aug 1915. Rugby Prisoners of War Fund



A meeting of the committee recently appointed to take over this fund was held at the Benn Buildings, on Thursday evening, the Chairman, Mr W Flint, C.C, presiding. It may be mentioned that the fund, which has hitherto been collected and administered by Mrs Blagden, will now be managed by this committee, which is quite a representative one.

It was decided to call the fund “ The Prisoners of War Help Committee (Rugby Branch).”

Mrs J H Lees (wife of the Rev J H Lees, Baptist Church) and Mr F R Davenport (General Manager of Messrs Willans & Robinson, Ltd) were co-opted on the committee.

The Hon Secretary (Mr J Reginald Barker) reported that he had been able to obtain considerable information as to articles required by our soldiers who were prisoners of war in Germany, and also special directions for packing and despatching the same, which he explained to the meeting.

Mr Barker said a new order had just been issued to the effect that tin boxes containing food or cigarettes, tin covers of boxes, or tin in any form whatever, is not allowed to be sent to prisoners of war. Any parcels containing tin will in future be refused and the parcel confiscated. Fresh fruit and meat cannot be sent.

On no account must letters or newspapers be enclosed in parcels.

Parcels under 11lbs in weight must be sent by post, and there would be no charge for postage.

Arrangements had been made with the American Express Co, Haymarket, S.W, for the transportation of packages exceeding 11 lbs and up to 112 lbs in weight. There would be no charge for transport, provided special labels were used, and the parcels would be received at any railway parcels office, and forwarded to London and then to Germany free of charge. A receipt will be sent from London for all parcels despatched.

In the present circumstances no guarantee can be given of the delivery of any parcel to the person to whom it is addressed, but it is believed that the arrangements made are the most secure that are possible and there is every confidence that, saving accidents, parcels will be properly delivered, provided they are packed and despatched in accordant with the rules laid down.

The time taken for transmission of a parcel varies according to the situation of the camp in which the addressee is interned, and may be estimated at from 15 to 18 days. As it takes about three weeks for letters to arrive here from Germany, it will be seen that the receipt of a parcel cannot be acknowledged under five or six weeks at the earliest.


Bread is much asked for and needed by British prisoners in Germany, but some of the bread sent even before it leaves England is in bad condition, and delays on the journey make it uneatable before it reaches the prisoners. Bread for sending to prisoners must be extra well-baked, not too light, and must be quite cold before being packed. It should not be packed in tins which exclude all air, but each loaf should be carefully wrapped in paper, grease-proof if possible, then placed in corrugated cardboard or a stout cardboard box. At present parcels (under 11 lbs) sent by parcel post in most cases reach their destination in a shorter time than parcels sent by other agencies, which is an advantage to be considered in sending bread.

Other articles of food which will be most acceptable are :- Tea, biscuits, cocoa, cheese (small whole cheeses are best), sugar, chocolate, cake, milk tablets, chocolate, cocoa milk and sugar (in cubes), crushed oats, dried peas, lentils, soup packets, dried vegetables, dried fruits (apples, French plums, raisins, etc), meat paste and essences.

Miscellaneous articles such as : Tobacco, plug twist and cigarettes, packs of cards and games, ordinary washing soap, papier mache plates and cups, tooth brushes, carbolic soap, shaving brushes.

Articles for personal use : Hair brushes and combs, handkerchiefs, pencils, outer clothing (for civilians only), needles and thread, buttons, underclothing.

Books (in separate parcels). Books must not have any reference to the war or political subjects, or any matter offensive to Germany.

The committee will be grateful for gifts of any of the articles of food mentioned in the schedule. Gifts in kind may be left at the Rectory at any time, and any article mentioned in the Hon Secretary’s report will be welcomed. Subscriptions should be sent to either of the Hon Treasurers—Mrs Blagden, The Rectory, or Mr C J Newman, Henry Street—and will be duly acknowledged.

The committee earnestly hope that any person knowing of any prisoner of war whose relations cannot afford to send comforts, will let the Hon Secretary, Mr J R Barker, 9 Regent Street, have full details of his address.


New regulations have been issued from German headquarters which order that all prison camps in Germany shall conform to uniform rules.

The camp is to be in a healthy locality, special care is to be taken in regard to questions of sanitation and hygiene, and adequate washing and bathing facilities are to be provided.

Officers buy their food and clothing and it is to be provided in proper variety and at reasonable prices. N.C.O’s and men have three meals a day, consisting of : Morning, coffee, tea, or soup ; noon, plentiful fare of meat and vegetables ; night, substantial plain meal.

The meals must be sufficient for proper nourishment, and Commandants are authorised to increase the amount of meat or vegetables if required. The same amount of bread is to be provided as for German soldiers.

In canteens at each camp food and underclothing can be purchased at fixed low prices.

Parcels from home containing food and tobacco are allowed.

Clothing will be provided if and when needed.

Prisoners are allowed to write one letter a fortnight and one postcard a week. Officers limited to letters of six pages and men to four pages. In special urgent circumstances of business or family affairs exceptions may be allowed.



DEAR SIR,—Many thanks for inserting my letter in your paper, for I have this week received a parcel of food from some very kind friends of Rugby, who request that my communication to them should be made through the same periodical, so I should be very thankful if you would again insert the following :—Dear Rugby friends, we, Pte Grant and Pte Payne, wish to thank you for your kindness in sending so promptly to our help, parcels which we accept with the sincerest gratitude, and we are very glad to know that we still have someone who thinks of us a little, and should the time come when we can return this kindness, we shall think it a grateful occupation.-We remain, Your sincere friends,

No 1417 Pte T Grant,
2nd Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
Gefangenlager, Altdamm, Germany.


Charles Henry Maynard, of 8 Victoria Street, New Bilton, a machine-minder at Messrs Frost & Sons’ Printing Works, has for some time felt that he would like to “ do his bit ” for his country, but he regarded himself as physically unfit by reason of a congenital club-foot. However, he recently wrote a personal letter to Lord Kitchener at the War Office expressing his earnest wishes, and pointing out that, although club-footed, he could box, swim, run, walk, cycle, etc. He made out as good a case for himself as possible, which was only natural, he being very anxious to get into the army, and a few days later—as the result of the communication to headquarters-a recruiting sergeant called upon him and, acting on his advice, Maynard enlisted in the R.A.M.C. He left his home for Salisbury Plain to commence training on Tuesday morning. The enterprising recruit had, of course, to satisfy a doctor that was physically sound, save for the foot, and his ambition for a military life was doubtless influenced by the fact that he has two brothers in the service—one being in the navy and the other in the army, the latter being a lance-sergeant with the Territorial force in India. Mr Maynard came to Rugby from Croydon six years ago. He has a wife and three children. He is ambitious to merit promotion and his future career will be watched with interest by those who know him, all of whom will wish him well.


Recruiting has been somewhat slacker at Rugby during the past week. The following have been accepted :—H H F Cleaver, 213th Fortress Company, R.E ; C H Maynard, R.A.M.C ; P Cleaver, C E Jenkins, and H L Benjamin, R.W.R ; E Hackleton and D T Cousins, Oxon and Bucks L.I.


During the past week the 2nd Battalion Warwickshire Regiment of the V.T.C have been encamped in Warwick Park, under the command of Lieut-Colonel Johnstone. The camp commenced on Saturday, when about 250 men went under canvas, each man being responsible for his own expenses. A detachment attended from Rugby, under the command of Mr C H Fuller, commandant ; and a number of these made the journey by train, under Sergt Yates, and the remainder marched, under Mr Robinson. The latter party arrived at Leamington in time to accompany the Leamington members to the Park, via the Old Road. Very useful work has been accomplished by the members, who paraded three times daily for about two hours, the reveille sounding at 5 a.m. Company and Battalion drills, each ending with an attack, have been held, and the members have also been practised in trench and field work, and mounting guard. On Bank Holiday sports were arranged, but owing to the heavy downpour in the morning and the storms of the afternoon the attendance fell considerably below expectations. There were, however, a fair number of visitors to the camp. The Rugby members were well represented among the prize-winners. Messrs W T Sidwell and Bell won their respective heats in the 100 yards race, and in the final Mr Sidwell finished second, and Mr Bell, who lost considerable ground through slipping at the start, third. There were a good number of entries for the N.C.O’s race, in which Mr W H Cluett finished second. Messrs Sidwell and Whitworth finished first in the three-legged race. Rugby did fairly well in the tug-of-war, registering a surprising win over Leamington 4, after two good pulls, in the first round. Owing to lack of weight, however, they were defeated in the second round by Knowle. A great feature was the officers’ race, which ended in a popular victory for the Colonel.—The weather during the week-end was not at all what could have been desired, but, on the whole, a very pleasant and instructive time was spent. The majority of the Rugby members left on Tuesday, but several remained for the whole week. The other local officers present were: Messrs Gough, Robinson, and Alderson.


THE FRIENDS of Sergt Martin, of the 7th K.R.R, who, as recorded in a recent issue of Advertiser, died from wounds sustained in action on July 1st, have received official intimation from the Army Council, and also a letter through Lord Kitchener, expressing the true sympathy of the King and Queen for them in their sorrow. Lieut-Col Rennie, the C.O of the Regiment, also writes :-” I am extremely sorry to have to tell you that your son, Sergt Martin, died of wounds the day after he was hit by a shell in the head. I can only offer you my deepest sympathy for a loss that cannot be replaced. He died a noble soldier’s death in action. He is a great loss to the battalion, and had been doing very well indeed.”



5th Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, who, as we reported in our last issue, has been awarded the D.C.M for gallantry in action, is an Old Murrayian. He formerly belonged to the Rugby “ E ” Co, R.W.R, and was one of the famous machine-gun section known as “ The Mad Eight.”



31st Jul 1915. Shirts, Socks and Wild Thyme



Many people are anxious to help their country in the present crisis, and children will be interested to learn that there is a way in which they can assist. Wild thyme, which grows plentifully in certain localities—and also the cultivated variety for the matter of that—forms the basis of an important disinfectant, of which there is just now a great shortage.

At Rugby School Chemical Laboratory arrangements have been made in connection with some work asked for by the War Office, by which large quantities of thyme can be dealt with.

Here is a splendid opportunity for school children to render valuable aid, and an appeal is made to boys and girls of the district to collect as much thyme as they possibly can during the next six weeks, and forward the same to Mr B B Dickinson, 5 Barby Road, Rugby.

Of course, it is expected that this will be done voluntarily, as there is no fund from which payment can be made ; but no doubt many children will be glad during their holidays to gather the thyme growing wild in the locality near their homes, and if in each village community one or two leading residents will interest themselves in the scheme, and see that the thyme when collected is duly despatched to Mr Dickinson, their assistance will be much appreciated.

In most large gardens, too, there is sure to be a certain quantity of the cultivated thyme in the portion allotted to herbs, and this will also prove most acceptable. Anyone willing to contribute or help in any way is invited to communicate with Mr Dickinson, who will be glad to give further information.


Mrs Spencer, 17 High Street, Rugby appeals to the people of Rugby on behalf of the Rugby boys of the old “ E ” Company, serving in France, for shirts and socks, or subscriptions for purchasing same. The boys are badly in need of both shirts and socks, and Mrs Spencer will be pleased to receive same at her residence to forward to them. Some have already been sent out, but many more are needed, as there are between 60 and 70 boys of the old “ E ” Company serving in France.


To the Editor of the Rugby Advertiser.

DEAR SIR,—Seeing in a copy of your excellent paper a message for “ the boys from the landladies,” I now take the opportunity on behalf of my comrades of letting you know how much the letter, or rather message, was appreciated,

I myself received the paper while in the Red Cross Hospital at Giza, Cairo, Egypt, where I am recovering from wounds received in Gallipoli, and after perusing its columns I blue-pencilled the message and re-posted this good old Advertiser to my chum on the Peninsula. A few days afterwards I received a letter telling how the paper was passed from hand to hand along the trenches of my regiment (the Inniskillings), and how the message brought memories back and gave the battalion something to talk about—for landladies were the sole topic in the trenches for the next week, and all were saying how they would enjoy themselves in Rugby when they had completed the job on hand, viz, dealing out to their “ Oriental friends ” a very-much-needed lesson.

Well, I will close now, wishing you and your paper the best of luck. Hoping I am not intruding on your valuable time, and at the same time thanking the people who inserted the message,—I am, sir, yours truly,

C BEST (Bandsman),
Red Cross Hospital, Giza, Cairo, Egypt.
July 15th, 1915.


Pte George Walden, of the 2nd Coldstream Guards, who went out to the front with the original Expeditionary Force, is visiting his patents at 20 Campbell Street, New Bilton, on sick leave, having been wounded in the wrist at La Bassee on June 15th. During the ten months that he was at the front Pte Walden took part in the big engagements in which the British were concerned, vis, the Retreat from Mons, the Battle of the Aisne, the first attempt on Ypres, and the glorious charge in the La Bassee brickfield. In his opinion the worst engagement, however was the rearguard action in the retreat from Mons, when the British covered 186 miles in eight days. Personally, Pte Walden has been very lucky, for although practically the whole of the original battalion to which he belongs has been wiped out, it was ten months before he was hit, although on more than one occasion he has had narrow escapes. On one occasion during the fighting round Ypres he had an exceedingly close shave. Being a staunch teetotaller, he refused tea with rum in it, and went out to fetch some water. The Germans caught sight of him, however, and opened fire with a machine gun. Realising his danger, he fell on to his stomach, and crawled the remainder of the way. On his return he was again fired upon, but luckily reached the lines safely. Our representative then asked Pte Walden what was his opinion of the personnel of the German army, and whether the stories to the effect that it was not so good now as at the beginning of the war were true ? In reply, he stated that there was little doubt but that the flower of the German Army had been destroyed, but the present troops were quite as good as their predecessors in trench warfare. It was in advances and retirements, however, that the difference was apparent, and in these directions the German troops of to-day were vastly inferior to those Germans who faced the British in the early days of the campaign. The original Prussian Guards were a fine body of fighters, but by the Kaiser’s orders they were pitted against the British Brigade of Guards, who completely wiped them out. Pte Walden paid a tribute to the marksmanship of the German troops and to their effective use of the hand-bombs. In conclusion, he wished to remind readers through the medium of this paper that the most acceptable gift at the front is “ Woodbine ” cigarettes, which are in greater request than any other brand.


WOUNDED SOLDIERS ENTERTAINED.—A party of nineteen wounded soldiers from the “ Ashlawn ” Hospital, Rugby, were very kindly entertained on Tuesday last week, by Mr and Mrs Wilcox, of “ The Knob,” Stretton-on-Dunsmore. The party, in charge of a nurse, arrived about three o’clock by break, which Mr Wilcox had sent for them, and various amusements, including whist, were indulged in till four o’clock, when tea was provided indoors, as, owing to the uncertain weather, it was not thought advisable to sit outside. After tea the party spent the time strolling round the garden. A start was made for home about six o’clock. The wounded men were very hearty in their thanks, and were loudly cheered by the villagers when they left. On the kind invitation of Mr and Mrs Wilcox, many of the inhabitants assembled to meet the soldiers, and were hospitably entertained afterwards. Among the wounded guests were some men who were present with their regiments when the King inspected the famous 9th Division on the London Road, a few days before their departure to the Dardanelles. The drive down the London Road was, therefore, particularly interesting to those men.


GRENADE-THROWER WOUNDED.—Recently Messrs F W Neal and Thomas Neal went to London to see their brother Jack, who lies badly wounded in the King George Hospital. Jack Neal was one of 25 picked men who were instructed to throw hand-grenades into the German trenches, which were only about 13 yards away. Before throwing the soldier pulls a piece out of the ball, which leaves him only a few moments before it goes off. Somehow one that Jack Neal was going to throw went off in his hand, which it very badly damaged. The extent he does not yet know. He has part of a finger off and one hanging loose ; he is also badly wounded down the right leg, and it is said it is miraculous that he escaped alive. Jack Neal enlisted in December. The other week he just escaped with his life. His company were asleep in the trenches with someone on watch when his pal (Tibbs, from Napton) shouted to them to get out quick. He had to call several times before the worn-out soldiers heard him, and just as they bolted to safety a shrapnel shell came down where they had been asleep. It killed the fellow who followed Jack Neal when racing from the spot, and smashed up Neal’s rifle.


Sapper Charles W Walton, of the Royal Engineers, youngest son of Mr E Walton, 81 Claremont Road, recently had a remarkable escape from death at the front. On July 1st, at Festubert, he was working with a small party, including Sapper Snook, of Rugby, who, as we reported last week, was also wounded, when he was struck by a bullet in the region of his heart. Upon examination it was found that the bullet had struck a pay book and wallet, which were in a pocket immediately over Sapper Waltons heart. These evidently diverted the course of the bullet, and saved the young man’s life. The book and wallet, together with the contents of the latter, were considerably damaged, and at first sight bear the appearance of having been gnawed by a mouse. Sapper Walton joined the Army in August, and is now in the Sussex County Hospital, Brighton, where he is doing well. On Friday last week his photograph appeared in a daily paper in connection with a garden party given for wounded soldiers there.


A Rugby member of the Warwickshire Yeomanry in writing to a friend, states that they are now encamped in one of the best parts of Alexandria, close to the sea, where there is some fine bathing. The regiment has been turned into an army of occupation, so that there is little prospect at present of them seeing any fighting ; and this, the writer says, has given rise to a certain amount of grumbling, the men not liking their inactivity. He states that he receives the Rugby Advertiser each week, and notices that recruiting is still going on, and ventures the opinion that some of those who are hanging back ought to go to Egypt and see some of the wounded Australians, who had been brought back from the Dardanelles. These had not only bullet wounds, but deliberate atrocities had been committed upon them by the Turks. “ If these men could only see such sights as we who are here do Lord Kitchener would have 3,000,000 men.” At present, he says, the Yeomanry are doing routine work, principally training the horses they received to replace those which were on the Wayfarer. They recently experienced a dust storm. The wind blew half a gale, carrying dust and sand with it, and filling everything with fine sand. The temperature was 108 in the shade and 132 in the sun, and the men of the regiment, who were in “ stalls ” at the time, went into the sea and stood with the water up to their chins for two hours. The storm lasted from 9 a.m to 3.30 p.m ; and the men, he facetiously adds, were “ eating ” sand for two days afterwards. He concludes with the opinion that there is no place to beat Warwickshire, with its green fields, even if it is cold and wet. One can have too much sand and sunshine.



Bombardier Turner, of the Royal Field Artillery, whose home is at 21 Plowman Street, and who has been at the front since the commencement of the war, visited his home for a few days this week. This is the second time Bombardier Turner has been home on leave, the first occasion being in January last. Although he took part in the retreat from Mons, and has been in most of the great fights since then, he has, fortunately, so far escaped injury. Nevertheless, he has had many narrow escapes. He is now attached to the grenade section with the Royal Engineers, and his duty consists in keeping the infantry men well supplied with hand grenades and operating the trench mortars. In his opinion, the British force is now in a better position than it has been in since the commencement of the war-in fact, had they been as strong last August the retreat from Mons would never have taken place. They now had plenty of ammunition, good serviceable guns and men, and, he added : “ If Mr Lloyd George will only keep on giving us ammunition like he is now doing we shall be all right.” Life at the front is evidently not all hard work, although there is plenty of that and to spare, for Bombardier Turner informed our representative that the trenches have now been made very comfortable, with arrangements for pumping out water in case of floods, and facilities for games are provided. Sports of various kinds are arranged in the rest camps, and recently a horse-jumping competition for a small gold cup, presented by King Albert, took place between the British and the Belgians, ending in a win for the latter. In an international football match the British Cavalry Division defeated the Belgians, and secured the medals given by the King of Belgium. Cricket and other games are also indulged in, and Bombardier Turner, who left on Thursday for the front, volunteered the information that the troops were quite cheerful and only waiting to “ slash it across the Germans.”


News has just been received in Rugby that one of the first volunteers to enlist from the B.T.H Works has been decorated with the Distinguished Conduct Medal. This decoration has been awarded to Pte A Hotz, of the 1st East Surrey Regiment, for conspicuous gallantry on Hill 60, where he placed himself in front of a communication trench occupied by the enemy, and on the enemy advancing attacked them with hand grenades and dispersed them. Pte Hotz was employed in the construction department at the B.T.H Works, and the members of the staff are naturally very pleased that this award for gallantry has been received by one of their number.

Lce-Corpl P V Stent, of the 5th Service Batt Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, whose parents live at 28 Worcester Street, Rugby, has received the D.C.M for valour in the trenches, He was a bomb-thrower, and succeeded in taking a trench almost entirely by himself. He brought back with him an explosive mine and showed it to his Colonel. Lce-Corpl Stent was for seven years in “ E ” Company, Rugby, and when he enlisted at the beginning of the war was employed as a moulder at Willans & Robinsons.


The following have been recruited at Rugby Drill Hall during the past week :-H Smith, R.W.R ; J Ryan, Scottish Rifles ; J Clowes, R H Lucas, R S Hirons, H R Hirons, and H Matthews, East Kent Regiment ; E Humphries Webb, Oxon and Bucks L.I ; E J Dalzel, J Welch, and H Lines. R.A.M.C ; C A Goodman, R.F.A ; J Andrews, R.G.A.

More recruits are still wanted, and arrangements have been made for each town to raise its own Company, to be drilled together. At present those who are willing to join are asked to send in their names to the Recruiting Officer, Drill Hall, Rugby. When sufficient men have been obtained to start training they will be called up.