Percival Pountney (1888-1917)
Lieutenant 75th Battalion
Machine Gun Corps
The Machine Gun Corps was formed in 1915 to make better use of the potential of machine gun fire in the trenches. Machine guns could have been used as short-range artillery, delivering plunging fire from behind the lines. However, this view never prevailed in the army, and instead machine gunners were placed in exposed positions in the very front line, a huge target for the enemy.
Percival Poutney was one of eight children of commercial traveller William Pountney, and of Annie Jackson, who was originally from Bow in London. The family lived at 72, Beach Road, and six of the children were baptised on the same day, 25th April 1894, probably at St. Alban’s.
Percival was educated at Camp Hill Grammar and then at King Edward’s High in New Street. He became a schoolmaster at the private Stanley House School in BristolRoad, still living at home, by then at 21, Ivor Road. Percival played rugby for the Camp Hill Old Edwardians’, and was a sidesman at St. Alban’s Church.
On the outbreak of war Percival joined the University Officer Training Corps, and was commissioned into the Gordon Highlanders on 28th October 1915. Sent to France on 15th April 1916, Percival was wounded in the head on the Somme in July 1916. Percival returned to the front line in February 1917. In June the Battle of Messines began, a prelude to the Third Battle of Ypres. Lieutenant Pountney was killed in action on the first day, the 7th June.
Percival Pountney has no known grave and is commemorated on the Menin Gate at Ypres.