In the first months of the war, Arthur & Mary Smith of Ganderton Row, Pershore, received a letter from their son Percy.

Little did they know that what Percy was doing was describing what had killed him.

Percy, a 21-year-old serving in the Grenadier Guards, had been wounded and his letter home told them how his injuries had come about.

He talked about 'being at it again in a short time', but his head wound was to lead to his eventual on June 1, 1915, in a London Hospital. He is buried at Brompton Cemetery in the capital.

Below is an extract from the Evesham Journal of November 14 that contains the letter Percy wrote.

It has been supplied by Percy's niece, Sheila Garner, who does not have a picture of Percy but who supplied this picture of his family.


Private Percy Smith of Pershore now lies wounded in the West Field Military Hospital at Aberdeen, Scotland from which place he has written to his parents telling them of the trying experiences through which he has passed. Private Percy Smith was but nineteen years of age when he joined the Grenadier Guards some sixteen months ago. He was a postman at Pershore and was also groundsman for the town Hockey Club.

He writes "I have had a most trying time since I left England, the worst being after we landed at a place called Zeebruges in Belgium but I must not grumble for many of my pals will never write or see old England again.

Out of my lot of 200 which went out, only 65 retuned uninjured. I've got a bullet wound in the top of the head. It is very painful at times and gives me terrible headaches.

At time the room where I am lying seems fairly dancing but thank God I am getting much better. I really thought my time had come. I waited three hours for death, for as I lay there the devils kept shelling us but at last somebody dragged me into a ditch and later on, by all accounts, they fetched me on a stretcher and took me into a barn where I lay expecting every minute to see the place blown away by shelling.

The firing got too hot and the wounded had to be again removed. They took me away in a cart and all the way we were constantly being shelled. I really cannot account for being here for six of my pals have gone.

Old Bill Kings seems to have been lucky. He and I were together all the time until I got bowled over. I tell you Mother, I could almost write a book on the close shaves I have had from death, but I don't feel up to writing; I go so giddy at times.

Many say it isn't war - it's murder with the guns used nowadays. It's nothing to see a house blown clean away. The scenes are indescribably; beautiful houses and the whole towns and villages on fire. I've seen some of our chaps cry at things done by the Uhlans and it makes me feel glad that I have been able to pull a few of them over.

I suppose I shall be at it again in a short time. I think my rheumatics have quite gone, or I should bound to have felt them lately for we had to lie three nights and two days in the open trenches drenched to the skin and the cold was terrible.

To warm us up we used to walk twenty miles a day. I've heard of folks walking in their sleep but fancy a battalion asleep. I'm sure I must have done and scores of fellows have said the same.

When ten minutes rest was called it took more than ten minutes to wake us up. I most close for I am feeling quite dazed but I must tell you the folks at this hospital are grand and generous. A lot of visitors come and bring us things, cigarettes especially."