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War Memorials



In Memory of
ALFRED PERCIVAL PAGE
Lance Corporal 49814
1st Essex Regiment
Who Died on Sunday, 16th February 1919
Age 26

Attenborough Churchyard, Nottinghamshire

Commemorated in Perpetuity
by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
&
Remembered with Honour
Image to Follow
Attenborough Churchyard

Alfred Percival Page was born in Lenton, Nottingham on 7 January 18931, the eldest of four surviving children of Alfred (b c1871, Croydon, Surrey) and Martha (née Langton, c1871, Long Eaton, Derbyshire) Page. After their marriage in Lenton in June 1892, Alfred and Martha first made their home nearby but moved to Beeston - probably because of Alfred's work as a lace maker - in about 1898, where they set up home at 10 Newton Street2. By 1903 the family had moved to Chilwell to live at 72 Park Road where Dorothy, their only daughter was born to complete their family. In 1911, Alfred continued to work as a lace maker and his three sons, including the 18-year-old Alfred Percival, were working in a Leivers lace drafting office - in Alfred Percival's case, as a 'reader-off'3.

Although his Army Service Record has not survived, it appears that Alfred Percival enlisted in about June 19154 with the Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby) Regiment and was posted to 2/7th Battalion.5.

The 2nd/7th Battalion Sherwood Foresters had been formed in September 1914 as a duplicate of the already well-established Robin Hood Rifles which had flourished as a volunteer regiment in the years leading up to the war and now became the 1/7th and left for France in February 1915. 2/7th became a second-line battalion, part of 178th Infantry Brigade in the newly formed North Midland Division and set about training its raw recruits who, in these early days, were billeted in Nottingham and surrounds, many of them in their homes. At this stage, training was limited to drill, and elementary tactical exercises. In 1915, the battalion had moved to Luton where more extensive training got underway.6.

By the time that Private Page joined the battalion, it was stationed at Dunstable but soon moved to Watford where training continued throughout 1915, during which time several drafts - typically consisting of two officers and 160 other ranks - left to reinforce the first line in France.

In August 1914 the political controversy of "Home Rule" for Ireland had been put aside when the Great War overshadowed all differences between politicians and over 250,000 Irishmen, of whatever belief, pledging their allegiance to the Crown and the cause of patriotism. However, increasing food shortages in the towns, particularly in Dublin, began to breed unrest such that, at Easter 1916 a group of intellectuals, backed by a force of about 3000 made their move. The first shot fired by the rebels was outside Dublin Castle when a policeman was killed. The rebellion spread across Dublin culminating in the leader of the insurgents, Patrick Pearce, declaring an independent Irish Republic from the steps of the Post Office. The reinforcements that were quickly summoned from England to counter this rebellion consisted were from the 176th and 178th Infantry Brigades of the 59th North Midland Division - including 2/7th Sherwoods Foresters. Private Page was likely to have been one of their number7.

There had been a number of setbacks, even before the troops arrived in Ireland. Crucially, Lewis guns and grenades were left behind, leaving the inexperienced troops to face the rebellion with only their rifles and bayonets. Nevertheless, the Brigade marched through the fine spring day, reaching Dublin without opposition. However, it was here that they ran into devastating enemy fire, hit the ground and suffered casualties while trying to locate the source of the attack. The battalion Adjutant, Captain Dietrichsen, was shot down while trying to get the men to move forward. Most of the battalion's casualties occurred during this tragic encounter. When eventually, the shortage of grenades was rectified and fresh troops arrived to relieve the exhausted and demoralised 2/7th, the revolt was eventually suppressed. it had been a difficult time for the men of the 2/7th which they no doubt reflected on during their return to England in January 1917. There would be much more to come after the battalion moved to France in the following month and settled down to a routine of training, trench maintenance and front line action as part of 59th Division and 178 Infantry Brigade including the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line.

In January of 1918, the battalion was part of a reoganisation which saw it become absorbed into 7th Battalion, part of 178th Brigade of 59th Division. However, it seems likely that it was by then that Private Page had been promoted to Lance Corporal Page and transferred to 1st Battalion Essex Regiment which saw action throughout the Hundred Day Offensive that was to lead to the Armistice on 11 November 1918.

Sadly however, it seems that Lance Corporal Page was taken ill early in 1919 and, either because he was there on leave or had been transferred there having taken sick while on duty, he was being treated at home in February 1919. Despite the efforts of local doctors, he died there on 16 February8. Although we currently have no specific evidence, it seems likely that he was a victim of the Spanish Influenza Pandemic which was then killing millions around the world. He was buried in Attenborough Churchyard where his memorial can be found on the south side of the churchyard.

Lance Corporal Page was posthumously awaited the Victory Medal and the British Medal9. His Army financial effects of 34 13s 3d, which included his Gratuity of 17 10s, were paid to his father on 21 January 192010.

His parents continued to live at the family home on Park Road Chilwell for the remainder of their lives. Alfred died in June 1939 followed by Martha in March 1955.11.

As well as being remembered on the memorial in Beeston Parish Church, Alfred Percival is remembered on the memorials in St Mary's Church, Christ Church, Chilwell, and in Chilwell Memorial Hall.


Footnotes
1His birth was registered in Nottingham Registration District in Q1/1893 (Ref 7b 287). His exact date of birth was recorded in the Register when he was baptised at Lenton church on 8 March 1893.
2Beeston, Notts : 1901 Census, Piece 3153 Folio 74.
3Chilwell, Notts : 1911 Census, Piece 20822 RD434 SD4 ED1 Sched 237. Alfred Percival's surviving siblings were France Edward (b. 1896), George Albert (b. c1897) and Dorothy (b. 1903). The house was then named 'Glencoe Villa'.
4As his Service Record has not survived, his enlistment month has been calculated based on the amount of his War Gratuity.
5His attachment to 1/7th Battalion is recorded on his Medal Card and his entry in the Medal Roll. His then Service Numbers, first 5622 and later 26696, are recorded there.
6Details of 2/7th Battalion's formation and deployment are based on "The Robin Hoods, 1/7th, 2/7th & 3/7th Battns, Sherwood Foresters, 1914-1918" by Horace Smith-Dorrien, Published 1921. It may be accessed at through the University of Oxford, Bodleian Library website.
7This synopsis of the Easter Rising and the battalion's involvement is derived from the many accounts that are widely available
8His death was recorded in Shardlow Registration District (of which Chilwell was part) in Q1/1919 (Ref 7b 812)
9Details from Arthur's Medal Card and his entry in the Medal Rolls - available on ancestry.com.
10Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929, available on ancestry.com.
11The dates of death are from their respective entries in the Probate Calendars.

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