Percy Glover, Private 17/648, 2nd Leeds Pals, The Bantams
Percy Glover was killed in action on 17th July 1916, age 20, during the long Battle of the Somme. He is buried in Delville Wood Cemetery, Longueval, France. In the register he is given as the son of Mrs Emma Glover, of 8 Runcorn Street, Kirkstall Road, Leeds. The register of soldiers’ effects gives Emma as his sole legatee, indicating that he had not married. He was later awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. His army records have not survived, but his service number shows that he was a member of the 2nd Battalion, The Leeds Pals, also known as The Leeds Bantams. It was formed in Leeds in December 1914, and after training landed in France on 1st February 1916. Percy had quite a low number, indicating that he joined fairly early, and this suggests he was a genuine bantam, not more than 5ft 3ins tall. Later in the war, in December 1917, after Percy’s death, the 1st and 2nd Pals were amalgamated. This is the sum total of facts known about Percy. What now follows is conjecture, and a confusing story at that, unless anyone can provide us with more definite information.
Percy was the son of Percy Glover and Emma Bell, who had married in Leeds in 1895. Percy senior was a steel worker on the 1901 Census, and before that a boiler smith’s apprentice. But before the 1911 Census he was dead, probably in 1909.
It is also possible that this was his second marriage. The 1911 Census shows Emma as a widow who had had three children, two of whom had died. The 1901 Census has Richard, born 1890, Mary, born 1892, and Percy junior, born 1896. The 1911 Census however has only Richard, shown as a stepson of Emma, and Percy. There is an 1891 Census which shows a Percy Glover of the right age, a boiler smith’s labourer, with a wife Anne and son Richard, also the right age. There is a marriage record for Percy Glover, in Leeds in 1889, when he may have married Annie Moss, but this is not definite. I have found no death record for her. The 1911 Census return was completed by Richard. Possibly Emma was illiterate. Her occupation is given as charwoman working in pubs. Richard is a labourer in the iron trade and Percy an errand boy for a sweet shop!
Was 1911 Richard the son of Percy senior and a previous wife? Did Emma also have a son Richard who died, or did they misunderstand the census questions? Or have I been looking at the wrong family? These questions cannot presently be answered.
In 1891 the Glover family was living in Watlass Street, Burley, and on the later censuses in Roseberry Street, Burley, and then Longside Street in Kirkstall. When Percy junior was killed Emma’s address was given as Runcorn Street, Kirkstall. In 1911 that address was occupied by another widow, Catherine Taylor, who had a lodger. It is possible that by 1916 Emma had become the lodger, or had taken over the house, being herself a widow.
Such, then, is the possible story of Percy Glover. If you can add to this, or correct it, please get in touch.
Researcher: Peter Taylor
- All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
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