Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1918, Private Percy Collinson, 7th Battalion, the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, was killed in action during the Second Battle of Bapaume on the Somme.
One of six children of a a house-painter, he had been educated at City Technical School (now Oxford Brookes University), and was an active member of the Oxford YMCA, being on their football, cricket and rowing teams, as well as participating in debates and chess matches. He apprenticed as a plumber and was working at his trade at the outbreak of the Great War.
In September of 1914, Private Collinson enlisted with the 2nd/4th Battalion of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, which had just been formed at Oxford as a second line unit of territorials. He was sent to France in 1915, attached to a Machine Gun Section. In June of 1917 he became seriously ill with pleurisy and spent several months in hospital. On returning to the front in April of 1918, he was transferred to the Sherwood Foresters. The following month he was shot in the neck by a sniper, but the wound proved not to be fatal and he recovered.
Just a few days before his death, Private Collinson was transferred to the 7th Battalion, the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. He saw action during the Second Battle of Bapaume, the German army reported as being weakened and demoralised. On the day of his death he had dressed the wounds of an injured comrade and was carrying him back to the British lines when both of them were cut down by German machine-gun fire.
Private Collinson is buried in the Vraucourt Copse Cemetery at Vaulx-Vraucourt in France. He is remembered in Oxford on the St. Peter le Bailey war memorial in the chapel of St. Peter’s College, and also on the war memorial of the Roman Catholic church of St. Aloysius, where he had been a devout church-goer, belonging to the Order of the Knights of the Blessed Sacrament.
Percy, from Oxford, was 24 years old.