Percival Leonard Hitchings
Percival Leonard Hitchings, the youngest son of George Frederick Hitchings and Mary Ann née Halling, was born during the summer of 1898. His older brothers, Charles Henry, Ashley Victor and Frederick Robert William John all served during the war in different capacities and it must have been an anxious time at home in the bridgekeeper's house at Splatt waiting for news, especially after the wounding of his cousin Edgar in 1916, and Frederick's death in 1917.
Few details of Percy's service have survived. He was a private with the 12th (Service) Battalion (Bristol) of the Gloucestershire Regiment and we can only presume that he is likely to have served with his battalion in the Passchendaele campaign of 1917, and possibly in the Somme for at least some of the previous year. However, it is highly probable that (unless prevented by illness or injury) he went with them to Italy in November 1917 to support the Italian Army after its heavy defeat at Caporetto.
Returning to France in April 1918, they would have been engaged straight away in the desperate fighting to stop the German breakthrough on the Lys, from the Lys Canal through the Nieppe Forest. On 25 April the 12th Glosters were detailed to capture the farm at Le Vert Bois (since known as 'Gloucester Farm'); they were completely successful despite machine gun fire, consolidating their positions and capturing over 30 Germans. However, two officers and 21 soldiers were killed in this action, including Percival Leonard Hitchings, who was posthumously awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal.
Percy's ultimate sacrifice is commemorated on Frampton's war memorial, on the plaque in the village hall and at the CWGC Merville Communal Cemetery in France, near where he died at 'Gloucester Farm'.