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© Barns Green - A Local History of The Great War 2014
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Percival Dennis Sprackling (1883-1917) - Pte 30553 13 th  East Surrey Regiment    Percy   Sprackling,   according   to   his   CWGC   records,   signed   up   for   the   Royal   Fusiliers   as   Pte   26920,   in   Horsham,   around   January   1916 whilst   working   in   the   engineering   department   at   Christ’s   Hospital   school.   It   is   likely   that   this   was   primarily   his   training   regiment   as   the 27 th    Battalion   of   the   Royal   Fusiliers   was   formed   in   Horsham   in   August   1915   as   a   Reserve   Battalion.   In   September   1916   the   27 th    Bn   RF was   converted   into   103 rd    Training   Reserve   Battalion,   24 th    Reserve   Brigade   so   his   actual   service   regiment/battalion   was   almost   certainly the 13 th  East Surrey Regiment as his medal roll details only relate to his East Surrey number of Pte 30553. The   13 th    East   Surreys   landed   at   Le   Havre   in   France   on   4 th June   1916   and   went   into   the   trenches   opposite   Lens,   north   of   Albert.   Later   the Battalion   moved   to   the   Somme   Valley   and   was   in   the   front   line   near   Bouchavesnes,   when   the   German   retreat   to   the   Hindenburg   Line commenced. A   move   north   took   the   Battalion   to   Villers   Plouich   and   it   was   here,   on   the   24 th    March   1917,   that   Corporal   Edward   (“Tiny”)   Foster   of   the 13 th  won a VC. It was also here, in the trenches four months later, that Percy Sprackling died. The   War   Diary   records   little   action   around   the   time   of   Percy’s   death   on   the   18 th    July   but   for   the   16 th    it   states   sniper   activity   (rifle grenades)   1   OR   killed/2   OR   wounded”.    It   is   likely   that   this   was   the   cause   of   his   death.   Ironically   he   must   have   survived   the   battle   for Villers   Plouich   in   which   over   200   of   his   regiment   were   killed   or   wounded,   only   to   be   killed   by   a   random   sniper   when   everything   seemed to have settled down. He   was   granted   the   Victory   and   British   War   Medals   for   his   service,   is   buried   at   Fins   New   British   Cemetery,   Sorel-Le-Grand,   and   is remembered on Itchingfield War Memorial.
The Fallen
Photograph courtesy of Ruby Gibbes (nee Sprackling)