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birchThis poster dating from 1920 is part of our collections at Wolverhampton Archives. As well as depicting various memorials and listing various significant First World War battles, the piece of paper in the middle commemorates the following:

BIRCH, Lce. Cpl. Percy George, 1635. 1st/4th Bn. Oxf. and Bucks Light Inf. 24th Aug., 1916. Age 24. Son of Calvin and Gertrude Edith E. Mason Birch, of 87 Darlington St., Wolverhampton.

Percy was born in Wolverhampton in 1892, and must have attended the Wolverhampton Higher Grade School. By 1901, the family were already at 87 Darlington Street, and the household consisted of his parents (his mother called Charlotte here), sisters Gertrude, Mable and Amy, and brothers Roland, William and Chas. They were at the same address in 1911, and the household now consisted of Percy and his parents (his mother in this instance called Charlotte Alice), sister Amy, and brothers Roland John, William Henry, Charles Norman and Laurence Calvin. By this date, Percy had become a student teacher.

Percy enlisted in the 1st/4th Battalion of the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry (number 1635). He died on 24 August 1916. The explanation for the different mother’s names is that Percy’s biological mother, Charlotte, herself died in 1917, and his father remarried Gertrude E. E. M. Hardiman in 1920. Percy is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial in France, as well as on the roll of honour in the Lady Chapel of St Peter’s Church and the memorial for old pupils of the Higher Grade School. He also appears on the memorial in St Peter’s Church.

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