Private Percival Ernest Abell

Service Army Service No. 37527
Rank Private
Regiment:Gloucestershire Regiment, 8th Service Battalion
Date of Birth: 1896
Born Winkleigh
Date of Death: 10/04/1918
Memorial: Dawlish Memorial Inscription ABELL P.E. PTE. GLOUC T.M.BTT

Service History

It is not clear when Percy Abell enlisted but there are references to first being attached to the Cavalry Reserve Regiment, service no 29612, before joining the Gloucestershire Regiment 8th Service Battalion.

The Gloucestershire Regiment 8th Battalion was sent to relieve Australian troops in front of Messines, south of Ypres on the 1st April 1918. The diary shows no activity for the following days when they were in Front Line trenches.

On the 10th April at 3.30am “Enemy sent up a very heavy barrage which lasted about 5 hours. This followed by a very heavy attack which resulted in the battalion being out flanked and compelled to fall back to a line nearing STINKING FARM.”

There is no record of the number of casualties or missing in this account, but the presence of his name on memorial panels at Tyne Cot Cemetery suggests that his body was not recovered. The inscription on the cross on the family grave in Dawlish Cemetery records that he was reported ‘missing’.(see photo)

Association with Dawlish

Percival Thomas Abell and Sidney Thomas Abell (q.v.) were sons of Thomas Wyborn Abell (1860-1940) and Mary Ann Murrin (1860-1940).

Thomas Wyborn Abell was the son of Henry and Sarah Abell who were farming 280 acres at Meeth, a small village about 13.5 km north-west of Okehampton.

Mary Ann Murrin  was also a daughter of farming parents at Meeth, John and Jane Murrin.

Thomas and Mary married early in 1885. They were both born in Hatherleigh, a short distance from Meeth.

By 1891 census Thomas Wyborn and Mary Ann Abell were living at Down, Winkleigh where he was a farmer.

Percival Thomas Abell was born at Winkleigh early in 1896 .In 1911 census the family had moved to the Strand Hill Dairy, Dawlish with five children.

Devon Roll of Honour Abell, Percy Ernest, Pte, Trench Mortar Battery, 10th Apr 1918, France
Additional Information Commonwealth War Graves Site

Next of Kin: Thomas Wyborn Abell, father (Meeth, 1860- 1940)
Last Known Address: Strand Hill Dairy

Gloucestershire Regiment cap badge WW1

Family gravestone in Dawlish Cemetery

Abell family business advert

The Long, Long trail – Cavalry Reserve Regiments


refs via subscription sites:

Regimental diary of the Gloucestershire Regiment, 8th Battalion.

Census records

Birth, marriage, death refs