Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1918, Second Lieutenant Percival Hookway Gange, 6th Battalion, the Gloucestershire Regiment, was killed while undergoing pilot training at Narborough in Leicestershire. Captain Hugh Corby, R.A.F., described him as one of his best pupils, and went on to say that with a failing engine, Second Lieutenant Gange had tried to turn back to the aerodrome, but lost flying speed and nose-dived to the ground, the aircraft bursting into flames.
The son of a post office telegraph superintendent, he worked as a clerk in the office of Messrs. Champion and Davies, confectioners, and then in the wages department of the Bristol Tramway Company. He joined the army at the outbreak of the Great War, and arrived in France in March of 1915.
A friend wrote to Second Lieutenant Gange’s mother after his death: “As an old friend and comrade, I should like to give you some idea of the esteem and respect in which he was held by all who knew him, either in the world of sport or in his army career. He always played the game [cricket] in the true spirit, thinking of his side before himself, and was popular with friend and foe alike. After six months’ hard training we crossed to France, getting our first instruction in trench warfare at Armentieres, and shortly afterwards taking over a portion of the line at Ploegsteert. Percy had from the first shown himself a smart and efficient soldier and was soon marked down for promotion…he soon left our battalion and became a runner on the Headquarters Staff…an arduous and perilous job. He carried out these duties for nearly three years and went through the great Somme battle of 1916, the German evacuation of 1917, and finally the third Battle of Ypres. I can honestly say that a more cheerful soul under trying circumstances never existed, he was most highly esteemed at Headquarters. The regret was general amongst us when he left with a view to obtaining a commission in the R.A.F. but we were glad he would get a respite from war. His death was a great blow to all, he died as he had lived, a true Englishman and sportsman”.
Percival, from Bristol, was 24 years old.