Private Percy Banfield

Thank you to the Friends of St. Margaret for allowing us to reproduce their research. Thank you to Lenka Cathersides for the additional research.

Percy Banfield was born in the 1st quarter of 1899 in Ockley, Surrey to agricultural labourer George and Ellen (nee Rogers). He was baptised on the 9th of July 1899 at St Margaret’s, Ockley. At the time of his baptism the family lived at Holdbrooks, Ockley and George was working as a stockman.

Percy’s father George Banfield was born about 1861 in Henfield, Sussex to agricultural labourer George, born about 1827 in Cowfold, Sussex and Ursula, born about 1837 in Felmersham, Bedfordshire. George was baptised on the 13th of October 1861 in Henfield. Percy’s mother Ellen was born in the 1st quarter of 1861 in Henfield to carter John, born about 1836 in Radwell, Bedfordshire and Maria born about 1838 in West Grinstead, Sussex. Ellen was baptised on the 10th of March 1861 in Henfield. Percy married Ellen in the 4th quarter of 1884 in Steyning, Sussex.

Percy had seven siblings: Nelly, born about 1886 in Henfield; Alice Ursula born about 1888; George Banfield born about 1890, both in Horsham, Sussex; Ernest born about 1894; Kate Elizabeth born about 1896; Thomas Banfield born about 1898, all in Capel, Surrey and Elsie May born about 1903 in Ockley.

At the time of the 1891 Census, agricultural labourer George lived at Goose Green, Warnham, Sussex. The household further comprised of his wife Ellen and their children Nelly, Alice and George. A lodger, agricultural labourer George Bennett also resided there.

At the time of the 1901 Census, the family lived at Holdbrooks. George was working as a stockman on a farm and Ellen was at home looking after their children: Alice, George, Ernest, Kate, Thomas and Percy.

At the time of the 1911 Census, the family lived at Capel House, Capel. George was working as a carter on a farm and Ellen was at home. The household further comprised of their children: farm labourer George, farm labourer Ernest, Alice, Kate, Thomas, Percy and Elsie. Ellen stated that she had given birth to eight children of whom all were alive. The accommodation had four rooms.

Elderslie Lodge, from a watercolour of 1823 by John Hassell.
Image – Surrey History Centre.

Percy’s employer prior to his enlistment was James Woodgate Arbuthnot, Esq of Elderslie, Ockley: for whom Percy was working as a gardener. He lived at Lime Tree Cottage, Ockley.

Percy had a fresh complexion and either grey or blue eyes and fair or brown hair. He had also a scar on his left thumb.

Percy Banfield enlisted at seventeen years of age on the 5th of September 1916 in Guildford. He was a Private with regimental number 127972.

From 6th September 1916 he became the part of the Army Reserve. He mobilised on 16th February 1917. Percy served from 5th September 1916 to 5th February 1918 at home. On 10th October 1917 he was transferred into the 4th Battalion of the East Surrey Regiment. On 11th November 1917 he was transferred into the Machine Gun Corps. Percy embarked on 6th February 1918 to Salonica where he stayed until 30th December 1918. From 31st of December 1918 to 23rd April 1919 Percy served again at home. Before his re-enlistment, he was the part of the 3rd Battalion Reserve of the Machine Gun Corps. On 24th April 1919 Percy was discharged from the Army and re-enlisted on 25th April 1919 in Grantham, Lincolnshire into the Machine Gun Corps.

He remained a Private and his new regimental number was 7810974.

On 27th February 1920 Percy embarked to Bombay in India where he stayed until 31st August 1920. Whilst in India, Percy was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis on 28th May 1920.  He was treated at the British Station Hospital in Secunderabat, India and then was sent back to England.

Percy lastly served as the part of the B Company of the 8th Battalion, the Machine Gun Corps.

From 26th September 1920 until he was discharged, he served at home. At home Percy was treated for tuberculosis at the British Red Cross Hospital in Netley.

Percy Banfield was discharged on 1st February 1921 being no longer physically fit for war service.

In 1922 Percy lived at the Limes, Ockley together with his parents George and Ellen and brothers George and Ernest.

Percy Banfield died of tuberculosis in the 1st quarter of 1923 in Dorking. He is buried in an unmarked grave at St George’s Churchyard, Ockley.  

He received the British War and Victory medals.

Born Ockley, Surrey
Lived Ockley, Surrey
Son of George and Ellen (nee Rogers) Banfield of Lime Tree Cottage, Ockley
Regiment 1st Battalion. Machine Corps
Number 7810974
Date of Death 21st September 1923
Place of Death Ockley, Surrey
Cause of Death Died of tuberculosis
Age 24
Cemetery St. George’s Churchyard, Ockley
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