Percival was born in Heath Town, Wolverhampton in 1891, the son of Arthur and Elizabeth Waddams. In 1901 they were living at 30 Wanderers Avenue, Wolverhampton, together with his brothers Arthur Norman, Ernest Leslie and Herbert James. By 1911 he was living at 19 Knox Road, Wolverhampton with his mother, and brothers. He was a clerk for the Corporation Tramways.
On 20 October 1914 he enlisted with the 6th Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment (service numbers 2495/3462/202331). He first served in France on 4 March 1915. During the course of his service he was appointed paid Lance Corporal (February 1915), promoted as Acting Corporal (February 1916), promoted as Acting Sergeant (March 1916) and Acting Company Quartermaster-Sergeant later the same month. He was demobilised on 3 March 1919. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, which was announced in the London Gazette on 3 June 1919.
But he also received a number of wounds during his service. In April 1915 he was admitted to hospital after an “I.C.T. leg” injury (inflammation of the connective tissue). He returned to duty in the field in July, but received a gunshot wound in the left elbow in October 1915 and was transferred to the UK to recover. He was granted a furlough from 29 November 1915 until 8 December 1915 to stay at home at 76 Wanderers Avenue, before returning to duty.
By the time of his discharge from the army, his address was 24 Belmont Road, Penn, Wolverhampton. He was sent the 1914-15 Star in 1920 and the British War and Victory Medals in December 1921. He married Lois May Hill in Wolverhampton in 1922, and they had two children – John A. and Peter D. – in 1924 and 1929. Percival died on 3 May 1939, by which date his address was 57 Goldthorn Crescent, Wolverhampton, and he left behind effects to the value of £2632 14s. 11d.