Monday, October 19, 2015

G/8195 Private Percy Raymond Ireland, 10th Royal Sussex Regt

Percy Raymond Ireland was born at Handcross, Sussex about 1st April 1880, the oldest of six children.  He appears on the 1881 census as a one year old living with his parents Raymond Ireland (aged 29) and Emma Amelia W Ireland (nee Blackwell, aged 25) at Handcross.  Raymond Ireland is noted as a grocer and draper’s assistant. 

I could find no trace of Raymond or Emma on the 1891 census but their son appears living in a grocer’s and draper’s shop run by his aunt in Handcross.  She is listed as Ann Ireland (aged 50) and living with her (apart from eleven year old Percy who is noted as a scholar) were her children : Harry H (aged 26, a grocer’s assistant), Florence A (aged 20, a housekeeper), Kate E Ireland (aged 18, a dress maker) and Bertha (aged 13, a scholar).  There were also two live-in grocer’s assistants:  William E Potter (aged 22) and Owen Wheatley (aged 20). 

It seems certain that by the time the 1901 census was taken, both Percy’s parents had died. Raymond Ireland died of pneumonia on 26th May 1899 at Great Bookham and on the 1901 census, his sister Ethel (born in 1886 and living in Nuneaton, Warwickshre) is recorded as an orphan.  By this time, Percy had moved again, this time to Eden Villa in the Parish of Laughton, East Sussex where he is noted as a 21 year old servant to Charles Hyland, a 45 year old grocer and draper. 

Percy married Karen Neale at Fletching, Sussex on 11th March 1907 and the couple had two children: Percy James, born on 31st May 1908 and William, born on 7th November 1910.  By the time the First World War started, Percy was working as a grocer and on his short service attestation form which he completed at Eastbourne for the Royal Susex Regiment on10th Novermber 1915, he declared that he was 35 years and 222 days old and living at South View, North Common, Chailey.  He was five feet seven and a half inches tall. 

He was given the number G/8195 and posted to the 10th Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment (15th November 1915).  He remained with this battalion until 3rd June 1916 when he was posted to the 8th Battalion. 

Percy sailed for France exactly two months later on 3rd August 1916 and he hadn’t been there long before he was wounded in action.  On 23rd September 1916, he received a gunshot wound to his scalp (the fact that he had been wounded, noted in the November 1916 issue of Chailey’s parish magazine).  It does not appear that this wound necessitated any treatment in England as Percy’s surviving service record details indicate that he was in France between 3rd August 1916 and 16th April 1918. 

On 17th April 1918 however, he was admitted to Bradford War Hospital (although whether this was as the result of a wound or sickness is unclear).  He was granted leave on 22nd June 1918 until 2nd July 1918; his battalion now given as the 7th Royal Sussex Regiment and his address as Clock House, Fletching. 

On 7thOctober 1918 a daughter, Freda Mary Ireland, was born at Uckfield (which would indicate either that Percy had visited England prior to April 1918 or that his wife had visited him in France). 

On 18th October that year he was confined to barracks for three days for having a dirty rifle on parade and one week later, received a further five days confined to barracks for having a dirty belt on the Commanding Officer’s Inspection Parade. 

On 22ndMay 1919, Percy was posted to the Royal Sussex Regiment depot and demobbed on 12th January 1920.  He was designated as medical category B2 and indicated on his protection certificate that he was still living at Clock House, Fletching. 

Percy’s brothers and sisters were: Mabel A Ireland (born 1882 at Slaugham), Newton Ireland (born 1884 at Epsom), Ethel Ireland (born 1886), Harry Ernest Ireland (born 1887 at Great Bookham) and Herbert Traiton Ireland (born 1889 at Epsom).
My thanks to Mick Ireland and Debby Jarrett for providing me with additional information about their relative, Percy Ireland, and his family.

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