Sunday, October 19, 2014

82015 Gunner Percy Charles Pateman, Royal Field Artillery

Percy Charles Pateman was born in Chailey in 1890, his birth recorded at Lewes in the December quarter of that year.  He appears on the 1901 census of England and Wales living with his family at Holford Cottage, Chailey.  The family comprised Thomas Pateman (head, aged 44, working as an ordinary agricultural labourer, his wife Elizabeth Jane Pateman (aged 41) and their seven children: Alice Pateman (aged 18, working as a general domestic servant), Frank Thomas Pateman (aged 17 working as an ordinary agricultural labourer), Faith Nellie Pateman (aged 13), Charity Hetty Pateman (aged 11), Percy Charles Pateman (aged 10), George Cecil Pateman (aged five) and Walter Robert Pateman (aged four).  The parents had been born in Chailey, as had Alice.  Frank had been born in Plumpton and all the other children had been born in East Chiltington. 

Percy Pateman is first noted as serving his King and Country in the November 1914 issue of Chailey’s parish magazine.  In October 1915 it is reported that Gunner Percy C Pateman has been invalided and then the following month that he has been invalided and returned to active service. 

In December 1915, the parish magazine reports, Pateman, Gnr P, RFA, England quickly followed in January 1916 by the note that he is now in France.  Percy Pateman appears to have served throughout the war, his name appearing in the final published roll call published in July 1919. 

In June 1917, Percy was back in England, a fact reported in the East Sussex News on the 29th (Friday) of that month: 


At St Peter’s Church, Chailey – Gunner Percy Charles Pateman (RFA) second son of Mr Thomas Pateman of Holford Farm, Chailey and Miss Alice Edith Page (eldest daughter of the late Rifleman Samuel Page of Lewes).  Wedding took place on Monday.  The bridegroom left on Wednesday for France, the bride returning to London to resume her duties at a munitions factory. 

The wedding must have been heavy with sadness.  The bride’s father had died while on active service in India that same month.  The Commonwealth War Graves Commission reports his date of death as 6th June 1917 and his age as 42.  He was 206668 Rifleman S Page of the 24th Rifle Brigade, a Home Counties Battalion which had arrived in India in October 1916. It adds the additional information that he was the "son of Samuel and Sarah Page; husband of Martha Eliza Page".  Martha had died in May 1911 and Samuel’s cause of death, recorded on his death certificate, is “Tubercle of the Lung”.  His age at death is also noted as 45 rather than 42.  Samuel Page is commemorated on the Karachi 1914-1918 War Memorial.  His body lies in one of 24 cemeteries in what was then northern India but which is now Pakistan.  None of these cemeteries are now maintained by The Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the records identifying the one in which Samuel Page’s remains lie appear to have been lost.
The National Archives notes Percy Pateman’s army number as 82015.  His brother, Walter Pateman and his cousins Alfred Pateman, Charles Pateman and Thomas Pateman MM also served their King and Country during the First World War.
Percy's service record does not survive but a fragment does. Helpfully, this lists the following information: 82015 Percy Pateman, 12th Reserve Battery, MT Section of 6th Divisional Artillery Column, enlisted 14th August 1914 for 3 & 9. The period of enlistment is important because it shows that Percy enlisted as a regular soldier and not simply for the duration of the war. A record also survives for him in the Royal Artillery Archives which notes a post war number for him: 1013273. It also adds that when he joined up in August 1914 he did so at Brighton and was working as a farm labourer. His marriage to Alice is recorded, as are the births of three children: Evelyn Lilian Maud Pateman (1920), Elsie Kathleen Pateman (1921) and Samuel George Thomas (1923). He was finally discharged form the army on 13th August 1926, 12 years to the day since he had joined up, his character noted as "very good". 

Percy Pateman died in 1958 after a long illness; his wife Alice died in 1982.

Medal index card courtesy of Ancestry.

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