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Percy Rowley was born in Preston in 1891.

He enlisted in the Territorial Force on 29th June 1914, joining the 4th Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment with the service number 1968. He was 23 years old and nominated his mother Ruth as his legal next of kin.

At his enlistment medical in Preston the examiner noted that he was 5ft 2.5″ tall and of good physical development, although his vision in both eyes was recorded as  being D6.

With the medical criteria being more stringent pre-war, Percy was discharged 38 days later  ‘being found medically unfit’.

When war broke out in 1914 Percy was living 8 Primrose Hill, off London Road, Preston. On 11th January 1916 Percy, having since moved to Kendal, enlisted again. He was now 24 years 11 months old, married and working as labourer. Percy, probably worried that he would again be refused the opportunity to serve his Country, stated on his enlistment paperwork that he had no previous military service. Luckily for Percy it would appear that this falsehood was never discovered.

Percy was given the service number 22785 and sailed to France to join his Battalion in the field sometime after January 1916.

On 31st August 1916 Percy was gassed and spent a spell in a hospital in France. The following notice appeared in the Westmorland Gazette on 9th September 1916.


Percy rejoined the Battalion but on 21st May 1917 he sustained severe gunshot wounds to the head and face. This ended his frontline active service and when he had recuperated he was transferred to the Labour Corps with the number 405485. He was discharged to the reserve after the Armistice.

Paul McCormick
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