Lt Percy Sutton (Perce)
Lt Percy Sutton
Lieutenant Percy Villiers Sutton was a school teacher from the Newcastle area of England, although he worked in Canada at the outbreak of war. He enlisted in September, 1914 very soon after the British Empire declared war on Germany. He shipped overseas very quickly as a Non Commissioned Officer (NCO) with Sergeant rank, going immediately into the trenches. It was during officer training at Sandhurst that he and Bob Pitman, born a mere three months apart, became close friends. See Sutton’s service record here: http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?op=pdf&app=CEF&id=B9445-S012
Bob and Perce (with Malcolm Isbester aka Issy) together entered their field of action at the Somme in September, 1916, as officers on their first assignment. While Perce had been in battle before, he had not led a platoon. The Seeking Courage story line identifies the gut wrenching anxiety that these junior officers faced preparing to take their ‘lads’ into the fire trench.
Sadly, just after Bob is struck down and buried alive in battle, Perce met a worse fate while being mowed down by machine gun fire while stuck behind barbed wire fencing which was thought to have been removed by artillery barrage. Bob carries the grief of that loss through the balance of his war service, and beyond.