Date of birth: 1884
Date of death: 4.10.1915
Regiment: King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Family information: Husband of Annie Eliza nee Calvert
Service number: 21700
Percy enlisted in the 1st Battalion of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry as Private 21700 and arrived in France on 10th June 1915. His Battalion took part in various actions including the Second Battle of Ypres (22nd April – 25th May) and the Battle of Loos (25th September – 8th October). Percy was killed in action on 4th October 1915. On that day the 1st Battalion received orders to attack Hohenzollern redoubt. They were met with very heavy machine gun and rifle fire according to the war diary. The diary goes on to say, “The distance to the German line was about 200 yards and the men got half way across. By then they were practically wiped out”. Casualties are recorded for “other ranks” as 10 killed, 65 wounded, 101 missing, although according to the diary, “There is no doubt that most of the missing were killed.”
He is remembered on the Loos Memorial, France. He was awarded the 14/15 Star, The British War Medal and the Victory Medal. Percy is also named on the War Memorial at Kirkhamgate.
His wife put the following in the Wakefield Express
“AUTY – In loving memory of my dear husband Private Percy Auty KOYLI of Wrenthorpe, who was killed in action in France, October 4th 1915.
He sleeps not in his native land
But ‘neath some foreign skies,
Far from those who loved him best,
But in a hero’s grave he lies
From his loving Wife and son, sisters E. T. L. S. “
On 23rd October the Wakefield Express printed the following
“Official intimation was received on Thursday that Private Percy Auty of Jerry Clay Lane, Wrenthorpe, was killed in action in France on October 4th. On February 22nd last he joined the 3rd Battalion KOYLI but was afterwards transferred to the 1st Battalion, with which he was serving when he met his death. Deceased, who was 31 years of age, leaves a widow and one child. Before enlisting he worked as a labourer at Messrs. R. Green and Sons, Wakefield.
A memorial service will be held at Wrenthorpe Church at 3.30 tomorrow afternoon.”
Percy was born in about 1884 to clog maker James and his wife Clara. They lived on Alverthorpe Road at the time of his baptism at Westgate Common Church on 29th October 1884. Tragically James Auty was not at his son’s baptism having died earlier that same month and he was buried in Alverthorpe Churchyard on 21st October aged just 34. In 1888 his mother had remarried to William Balmforth and the family lived in Mount Pleasant Avenue, Alverthorpe – Percy’s siblings Ernest (b1876), Edith (b1877), Theodora (b1880) and Leah (b1885) plus William’s three children and John who belonged to them both. Ten years later in the 1901 census he was still living there and was employed as an apprentice mechanic.
On 3rd March 1906 at the age of 21 he married Annie Eliza Calvert of Wrenthorpe at St Anne’s – he was described as a labourer living in Alverthorpe while Annie was from Wrenthorpe. On 14th April 1909 they had a son, also called Percy and in 1911 were living in Jerry Clay Lane with Percy senior being a labourer in the iron foundry.