Skeyton – War Memorial (Private Percy Walter Allard)

There are three brothers listed at the war memorial in Skeyton, Alfred Allard, Bertie Allard and Percy Allard. Sons of Edward John Allard and Ann Elizabeth Allard, Percy was the youngest of the family and at the 1911 census he was 11 years old and listed as being at school.

Now, I have to say, the bravery of Percy becomes evident taking into account he was 11 at the census, but managed to join the British Army in 1915 despite not being 18. No doubt wanting the same excitement as his brothers, he signed up by giving a false age. The army found out in 1916 and he was kicked out and sent home, although there was clearly a blind eye turned to many of these youngers and in one case the army managed to recruit a 12-year old.

Percy was though allowed to rejoin the army in late 1917 and this was despite knowing by then that his two older brothers had been killed. He joined the 6th battalion of the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment and he went to fight on the western front. Percy took part in the Battle of Amiens, fought between 8 and 12 August 1918, but he was killed on 10 August at the age of 18.

Percy is commemorated at the Vis-en-Artois British Cemetery in France, never knowing that the Battle of Amiens was a victory for the allies which was important in speeding up the end of the First World War. Seeing these names on war memorials is one thing, but discovering the bravery that someone like Percy showed is another. But at what a tragic cost to his parents, the third of their sons to be killed.