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War Memorials



In Memory of
PERCY HADDON
Private 73263
10th Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
Who was Killed in Action on Sunday, 20th October 1918
Age 19

Row A Grave 34
Amerval Communal Cemetery Extension, Solesmes, Nord, France

Commemorated in Perpetuity
by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
&
Remembered with Honour
Amerval Communal Cemetery Extension

Faubourg d'Amiens Cemetery, Arras, France1

Percy Haddon was born in Beeston in 18992, the third of seven surviving children of William and Elizabeth (née Foulk) Haddon. William and Elizabeth had come to live in Beeston soon after their marriage in August 18963. William had found work as a labourer at Beeston Foundry which had recently opened there. By 1901, the family, now with three children including the young Percy, aged one, was living at 27 Salisbury Street, Beeston4. By 1911, the family, now including six children, had moved to 12 Humber Road South, Beeston5. Twins were born in 1912 but one sadly died as an infant.

Although his Army Service Record has not survived, it appears that Percy enlisted in August 19176 as he was required to do when he reached his 18th birthday. Since May 1916, conscription into the armed forces had become compulsory for all single men when reaching the age of 18, unless in one of the exemption categories, and they were then eligible to be sent abroad on reaching their 19th birthday. Accordingly, he joined 1st Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters for basic training. This came at a particularly difficult time for the family as Percy's older brother, William Henry, had been killed in action aged 20, on 8 April 1917 while serving in France with the Royal Army Medical Corps.

By April 1918, following the losses during the German Spring Offensive, the army was facing a desperate shortage of manpower on the Western Front and there were grave concerns that the position was critical. In the face of the resulting serious political crisis, the Military Service Act was extended to allow soldiers aged 18 who had received six months training, to be sent overseas. It appears that Percy was one of thousands that left for France six months earlier than they would have done under the previous regulations. While we do not know the exact date, we do know that he had arrived in France by the time of the first anniversary of his brother's death, on 8th April 19187. It could only have added to the concern within the family.

Private Haddon had then joined the Sherwood Forester's 10th Battalion, part of 17th Division, which was then heavily involved in the latter stages of the Spring Offensive so it appears likely that he would have been plunged immediately into the horrors of the war. After the German offensive faded the war soon began to turn in favour of the Allies although there was no let up in the intensity of the fighting and 10th Battalion took part in many of the significant battles. In August it took part in the Battle of Amiens that was to be seen as the beginning of the Hundred Days Offensive that was to lead up to the end of the war. Towards the end of the battle, on the 11th and 12th, the battalion was in the front line at Proyart, south of the Somme, when they were hit by a three hour bombardment of gas shells which caused very heavy casualties. After reorganisation, the battalion was again in action on the 25th and were able to push forward with some success with the enemy in retreat. In the month as a whole, the battalion had casualties totaling 21 officers and 519 other ranks - including almost 450 wounded, many from gas8.

Progress continued to be made against the enemy during September with the battalion taking part in the Battle of Bapaume and, on the 18th, in the Battle of Epehy, its attack was extremely successful, reaching its objectives with only light casualties while taking 350 prisoners and many enemy weapons. In the German counter-attack that followed, there were some casualties but the battalion was able to rally and had held its position by the time it was relieved on the 19th. On October 12th, the battalion was in the front line at Inchy facing a very active enemy and numerous casualties were taken and, although there were signs that the enemy had begun to retreat, it had not been dislodged completely. However, the overall position was that, following the capture of Cambrai on 8 October, the enemy was now nearing exhaustion.

On the 20th the battalion was involved in what became known as the Battle of the Selle in which Allied forces attacked newly-established German positions to the east of the Selle River. The battalion moved forward across the river by footbridge and was able to reach its objectives despite heavy enemy resistance and bad weather conditions. There were casualties totaling 5 officers 65 other ranks - which included 13 other ranks killed. Sadly, Private \Haddon was one of those who were killed in the action.

Private Haddon was buried in the Amerval Communal Cemetery Extension. Amerval is a small village 5 Kms north of Le Cateau. The cemetery extension was made after the 51st Brigade (17th Division) had captured Amerval on the 20th October, 1918; and it was enlarged after the Armistice by the concentration of 61 graves from Contour British Cemetery, Solesmes. There are now over 150, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, a small number are unidentified. The cemetery covers an area of 308 square metres and is enclosed by a stone rubble wall9.

He was posthumously awarded the Victory Medal and the British Medal10. His Army financial effects of 8 2s, which included his War Gratuity of 6 10s, were paid to his mother, as his sole legatee, on 14 April 191911.

Elizabeth Haddon, Percy's mother, died in 1920, aged only 47. By 1930, his father, William Haddon, was living with his son George and his youngest daughter Connie and her husband Herbert Foster, at 29 Regent Street. He appears to have died in the Mansfield area in 1951, aged 7812.


Footnotes
1The photograph of Amerval Communal Cemetery Extension is from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. (http://www.cwgc.org)
2His birth was registered in Basford Registration District (of which Beeston was part) in Q3/1899 (Ref 7b 209).
3Their marriage took place at St Alban's Church, Sneinton, Nottingham on 8 August 1896.
41901 Census, Piece 3153 Folio 171.
51911 Census, Piece 20430 RD429 SD3 ED5 Sched 133. Percy's siblings were William Henry (b. 1897), Ida (b.1898), Lizzie (b. c1902), George (b. 1903), Nellie (b. c1908) and Connie (b. 1912).
6Calculated based on the amount of his War Gratuity. His early attachment to the 1st Sherwood Foresters is mentioned in his Medal Roll entry.
7Nottingham Evening Post, 8 April 1918. 'In Memorial' by the family for the first anniversary of William Henry's death, includes Percy who was then 'in France'.
8This summary of 10th Battalion's involvement in the war between August and October 1918 is derived from its war diary
9This description of Amerval Communal Cemetery Extension is based on that included in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.
10Percy's medal awards are recorded in the Medal Rolls and on his Medal Card, available on ancestry.com.
11Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929, available on ancestry.com.
12Details of the family in the post-war period are derived from standard genealogical sources, including the 1939 Registration.

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