CLAY Charles Percy Parker

Category: Military
Rank: Sergeant
Regiment or Ship: 2nd Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment
Service Number(s): 9157
Occupation: Tailor
Date of Birth: 11.09.1886
Place of Birth: Sutton Bridge, Lincs.
Date of Death: 09.05.1915
Place of Death: France Place of Burial / Memorials:

Richebourg-L’Avoue, Departement du Pas-de-Calais, Nord-Pas-De-Calais, France

Address: Camber, 5 Eversley Road, Bexhill on Sea

Photos and newspaper articles

Family Information

John William Clay (1858-) and Mary Ann Redmile Clay, nee Ward, (1860-).

Siblings:         Marguerite Kathleen Clay (1887-1954); Dorothea Eunice Clay (1890-1965); Marjorie Gladys Clay (1894-1992); Norman Cyril Clay (1898-); Phyllis Irene Clay (1899-1984).

First World War Experience

Charles was in the Forces before the start of WW1, as an article below shows. When he enlisted on 27th January 1909, he was 22 years and 4 months old,  5’ 5” tall, weighed 126lbs, had a chest measurement of 35½” (expansion 3”), a fresh complexion, blue eyes, and brown hair. He had a scar on the front of the top of his head and one on the left side of his forearm. He also had a large brown birth mark on the left side of his back. He had served with the 6th Sussex Battery, 2nd Home Counties Brigade, previously, and also the Royal Navy.  His Service Number is the Navy was 221444 and his first ship had been the St. Vincent and the last the Aradne.  He served in the Navy from 26th July 1902 to 2nd November 1907.

In November 1914 the following article appeared in a local newspaper:

“The medal for distinguished service in the field has been awarded to Lance Sergeant C. P. P. Clay, of 2nd Batt. Royal Sussex Regiment. Lance Sergeant Clay acted as Scout Leader, and sent in very good reports on the 14th September and several times later. He has pushed well forward, and reconnoitred on occasions right up to the enemy’s lines.”

On the 5th June 1915 it was reported:

“Sergt. Clay Killed In Action

We regret to state that Mr. John William Clay, of 5, Eversley Road, Bexhill, has received an official communication from the War Office, stating that his son, 9157 Sergt. Percy Parker Clay, of the Royal Sussex Regt., was killed at Richebourg L’Avoue, France, on the 9th of May.  The deceased was 28 years of age at the time of his death.

At an early age young Clay, having a wish to go into the Army, wrote to Lord Roberts, endeavouring as a lad to get into the Marines.  Lord Roberts kindly sent the letter on to one of the depots, but there was no opening just at the time.  Being ambitious of entering the King’s service, the youth joined the Navy, and served till he was 21, taking several voyages to different parts of the world.  He eventually, when he was 21 years of age, bought himself out, and settled down at home, working with his father at the tailoring business.

Six years ago he enlisted in the Royal Sussex Regiment, and served with that regiment in various places. When war was declared, he went abroad with the regiment, and a very few days after he had reached the firing line was wounded in the head at the battle of Mons, a piece of shrapnel, about two inches long, also lodging in his left forearm.  He returned home for treatment at the Military Hospital, Colchester.  He had been acting sergeant before the war broke out, and soon afterwards was confirmed in the rank of sergeant. He was mentioned in Sir John French’s dispatches for distinguished services, and awarded a British medal, and recommended for a French medal. One of the services he rendered was a reconnaissance with two comrades in the German lines, from which they all returned safely, and brought back with them valuable information, for which they were thanked by their commanding officer.

One of the late Sergt. Clay’s brothers (Cyril) is now assistant scoutmaster at New Romney.”

Charles’ medals were:- D.C.M., Victory Medal, British War Medal, 14 Star, and Clasp/2/2689.

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