Percival Richard Horton 1894 – 1916
Percy Horton was born in Agricola, Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Canada on the 1st January 1894. He was the youngest son of Frank Isaac Horton, a gardener’s assistant, who was born in 1862 in East London, and Clara Ellen Hobson (1864-1930) born to an army family in the North West of India.
Percy had at least two siblings, Grace born 1888, and Allen 1890. The family moved to Canada in 1892 and were farming near Edmonton in the 1901 census. By 1911, the family had returned to Britain and were living at 31, Rooksgrove, Kingscourt, Rodborough near Stroud, where 17-year-old Percy is an ‘apprentice’. His service number 9689 suggests he joined the regular army’s 1st Battalion The Gloucestershire Regiment in August 1912.
At the coming of war in August 1914, the 1st Battalion were stationed at Bordon in Hampshire. As part of the BEF, they arrived at Le Havre on the 13th August 1914, part of 3rd Brigade in 1st Division.
Horton was killed in action at High Wood on 8th September 1916:
“The troops ordered to secure the western half of High Wood on 8th September were the 1st Gloucester and the 2nd Welsh of 1st Division’s 3rd Brigade. Two companies of the 2nd Welsh advanced up its left-hand side at 6 p.m. while, further to the left, the 1st Gloucester attacked the wood’s south-western face. Helping both battalions were two companies of the 9th Black Watch from 15th Division who assaulted a trench that ran from the western corner. After a short fight, the 2nd Welsh company nearest to the centre of the wood gained its objective, but the other company was checked by fire. As for the 1st Gloucesters, it was a disaster. Weak in numbers even before the attack, they had to winkle the enemy from wired shell holes at bayonet point. Isolated with no chance of being reinforced and reduced to three officers and 96 men, they withdrew to their original line after dark.“
Norman, Terry. The Hell They Called High Wood: The Somme, 1916. London: W. Kimber, 1984. Print. p.205
Horton was listed missing in the November 4th, 1916 Gloucester Journal, and his photo printed with other Gloucestershire Regiment ‘missing’ in the Daily Mirror of 14th December 1916.
He seems to have originally been buried where fell, on the site of London Cemetery and Extension, but was later concentrated in Delville Wood Cemetery XIX G 8: his inscription reads “He died for you”. Horton is also commemorated in the Rodborough Church Roll of Honour, and the Canadian Book of Remembrance.