GILBERT Percy George
Regiment : H.M.S. Defence Royal Navy
Service number : 233033
Conflict : WW1
Date of death : 31st May 1916 aged 26
Place of death : Battle of Jutland, North Sea
Buried : Commemorated on Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon, England, Panel 12.
Relatives : Son of Evelyn Helen Wells (formerly Gilbert), 12 York Place, Britannia Square, Worcester, and the late William John Gilbert
Memorial : Worcester Guildhall
Also appears on : Worcester St Paul's Church
Appears in the Worcester/Worcestershire Roll of Honour Book for navy casualties located in Worcester Cathedral.
Percy Gilbert was born on the 7th January 1889 in Worcester, one of at least six children of William and Eveline Gilbert. In 1891 William was recorded as an Inn Keeper and the family lived at 5 Copenhagen Street. In early 1894 William died and in 1895 Eveline married William James Wells. By 1901 the family were residing in Upper Park Street. Percy attended St Martin’s School before entering St Paul’s School on 26th May 1897 and then re-entering again on 13th November 1900 although no date of leaving was entered in the records. He left St Paul’s School on 6th September 1901 and was then re-admitted on 9th October 1902, leaving for the final time on 26th November 1902.
Percy enlisted in the Royal Navy at the age of 18 for a period of 12 years on 7th January 1907. At the time of his enlistment he was employed as an errand boy and was 5 feet 1½ inches tall with fair hair, blue eyes and a fresh complexion. He served on numerous ships, rising from Ordinary Seaman to Able Seaman, before joining HMS Defence on 8th April 1916.
H.M.S. Defence was launched in 1907, she sank on 31st May 1916 at the Battle of Jutland. After initial damage she was hit by a salvo which triggered explosions in her ammunition, a further salvo hit and she blew up in a spectacular explosion with the loss of 903 lives.
A photograph of Able Bodied P.G. Gilbert can be found in Berrow’s Worcester Journal Supplement, Saturday 29th July 1916, available at Worcestershire Archives.
Percy Gilbert has no known grave, the photograph available shows his name on Plymouth Naval Memorial.