NORMAN, Percy Robert

No.13970, Private, Percy Robert NORMAN
Aged 21

8th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Friday, 12th October 1917
His medal card has 15th November 1915

Percy Robert Norman was born in Wicken on 3rd October 1895,(school register-birth registration not yet found), son of Nathan and Charlotte Elizabeth NORMAN(née BAILEY).

1901 census...Aged 5, he was at Lower Drove, Wicken with his father Nathan Delph NORMAN [28] farm labourer; his mother Charlotte E [26], brother Alec [2], sister Amy [1] and great aunt Eliza KING [70]. All were born in Wicken.

1911 census...Aged 15, farm labourer, he was in North Street, Wicken with his parents, brother Alex and sister Amy, and brothers Harry [8] and Arthur S [4 months] and sister Rosemary [5], all born Wicken.

He enlisted in Newmarket.

Taking the date given by CWGC, October 12th(only the medal index card has a different date) 1917 the battalion were at Rose Trench and Pheasant Farm.
At midnight on October 11-12 the 8th battalion began moving up towards Rose trench, near Poelcappelle on the Langemarck side. This was in preparation for the first battle of Passchendaele. It was a long march, in pouring rain, and on its way up the battalion was badly gas-shelled. Rose trench was found to be water filled and the surrounding ground was a swamp, churned up by shell-fire. For the rest of the night the troops had to stand in icy water up to their waists. Battalion HQ was in the debris of a small building called Pheasant farm which could only be entered by crawling on all fours. On October 12, at 5.25am, a British attack was launched between the Ypres-Roulers railway and Houthulst forest. An hour later Lieut.-Colonel Hill moved the battalion forward being directed towards the left corner of Poelcappelle. Between Rose trench and the Langemarck-Poelcappelle road heavy shelling was encountered. The whole ground was pock-marked with shell-holes, so full of water that men often had to struggle to prevent themselves from drowning. The valleys of the streams were altogether impassable and the operation was abandoned. The battalion suffered 232 casualties of which 23 were killed. Such were the conditions that only one of these was identified later. The rest, including Percy, have their names on the Tyne Cot Memorial.

Just imagine trying to rush across this when being shot at.

Percy Norman is commemorated on the Tyne Cot memorial, panels 40-41 and 162-162A

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details