Stephenson P.C.

PERCIVAL CADE STEPHENSON (1896-1918)

39150 Private Percival Cade Stephenson, 12th battalion, the Durham Light Infantry was killed in action 28 March 1918 and is buried in Duhallow A.D.S. Cemetery, Belgium.[1]  He was 22 years old and is commemorated on the Woodland War Memorial and the Memorial Plaque in St. John the Evangelist Church, Lynesack.

Private P.C. Stephenson’s brother 91960 Private T.W. Stephenson, 15th Battalion, the Durham Light Infantry died of wounds 31 May 1918 and is buried at Sissonne British Cemetery, France.[2]

Family Details

Percival Cade Stephenson was born 1895[3] the son of Thomas and Phyllis Stephenson.  There were at least 8 children, all born in the Parish of Lynesack and Softley:[4]

  • Arthur bc.1886
  • Etta bc.1888
  • Henry bc.1889
  • Jonathan bc.1892
  • Thomas William bc.1894
  • Percival Cade born 1895
  • Emily Lydia bc.1898
  • Harold bc.1899

In 1901, the family lived at the Edge, Woodland where Henry worked as a “winding engine man”.  Arthur was a “tailor’s apprentice.”[5]  By 1911, the family lived at Lynesack Villa, Butterknowle and Henry worked as a “winding engineer” for the Woodland Co. Ltd.  22 year old son Henry was a coal miner, 17 year old Thomas William was an “apprentice mason” and 15 year old Percival was a student.[6]

Service Details

Percival Cade Stephenson attested 9 December 1915.  He lived at Lynesack Villa, Butterknowle and was 21 years and 161 days old.  He worked as a “boot repairer.” [7]  He joined the Army Reserve and was mobilized 5 October 1916 and posted the next day to the 4th Battalion, the Durham Light Infantry being allocated the regimental number 39150.  He underwent a medical examination 5 October 1916 aged 21 years 3 months, was 5ft.7¼” tall, weighed 126lbs. and although had some slight defects was considered fit for service.[8]  23 December 1916 he was posted to 12/DLI.  Private P.C. Stephenson entered France 25 December 1916 and joined 12/DLI in the field 30 January 1917.[9]  He was wounded in action 7 June 1917, GSW (gun shot wound) to the right knee and admitted to No. 2 Casualty Clearing Station then to No. 16 General Hospital.[10]  4 September 1917 he was transferred to the Labour Corps being given the regimental number 384790 and posted to the 58th Company.  [11]

The 12th (Service) Battalion, the Durham Light Infantry was formed at Newcastle in September 1914 as part of K3 Kitchener’s New Army and came under the orders of 68th Brigade in the 23rd Division.  It landed in France 26 August 1915.[12]  The 68th Brigade comprised:

  • 10th (Service) Bn., the Northumberland Fusiliers
  • 11th (Service) Bn., the Northumberland Fusiliers
  • 12th (Service) Bn., the Durham Light Infantry left 14 September 1918
  • 68th Machine Gun Company joined March 1916 moved into Divisional MG Battalion April 1918
  • 68th Trench Mortar Battery formed 13 June 1916

Between 25 December 1916 and 4 September 1917, the 23rd Division as part of X Corps Second Army saw action at the following engagements:

7 – 14 June 1917: The Battle of Messines.  Private P.C. Stephenson was wounded 7 June 1917.  He was admitted to hospital and then transferred 4 September 1917 to the 58th Company Labour Corps.  The war diary of the 58th Company, Labour Corps[13] has not been researched so his remaining army service details are unknown.

The Labour Corps initially was a non-combatant organisation formed in April 1917 absorbing infantry labour battalions and labour companies from the RE and ASC.  The new companies carried out defence work in the UK and overseas which included road and railway building and repair, moving ammunition and stores, load and unloading ships and trains, burial duties and at home agriculture and forestry.  Men were assigned from other regiments often because of their reduced medical category.  By the end of the war the labour Corps had strength of about 380,000 men and reached its greatest number of almost 400,000 men in January 1919.  There were about 250 Labour Companies in France and Flanders with about 30 to 50 allocated to the Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Armies and some in the Lines of Communication units.[14]

The Labour Corps assumed combatant status for dealing with the German Offensive of March 1918.  2,300 men serving with the Labour Corps were either killed in action or died of wounds between May 1917 and the end of the war.[15]  The Labour Corps was disbanded in late 1919.[16]

By the end of the war, the 58th Labour Company served with the Second Army.[17]

Private P.C. Stephenson was killed in action 28 March 1918.[18]  He served a total of 2 years 110 days:

  • Home: 9 December 1915 to 24 December 1916…………….1 year 16 days
  • France: 25 December 1916 to 28 March 1918………………..1 year 94 days [19]

Without further research, such as consulting Capt. T.C. Thomas’ book, it is not possible to conclude where Private P.C. Stephenson was killed in action or the circumstances surrounding his death.  Private P.C. Stephenson was awarded the British War and Victory medals.[20]

Burial

Private Percival Cade Stephenson is buried at grave reference IV.D.28 Duhallow A.D.S. Cemetery, Belgium.  Duhallow Advanced Dressing Station was a medical post located about 1¼ miles to the north of Ypres and the cemetery was commenced in July 1917 and in October and November 1918 was used by the 11th 36th and 44th Casualty Clearing Stations.  After the Armistice, the cemetery was enlarged when graves were brought in from isolated sites and small cemeteries on the battlefields around Ypres.  There are 1544 Commonwealth casualties of WW1 buried or commemorated here.  [21]

References:

[1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[2] CWGC

[3] England & Wales Birth Index 1837-1915 Vol.10a p.260

Auckland 1895 Q3

[4] 1901 & 1911 census

[5] 1901 census

[6] 1911 census

[7] Army Form B.2512

[8] Medical History

[9] Army Form B.103 Casualty Form-Active Service

[10] Army Form B.103 Casualty Form-Active Service Note: He may have been discharged 3 August 1917

[11] Statement of the Services

[12] http://www.1914-1918.net/dli.htm

[13] “With a Labour Company in France” 1920 Capt. T.C. Thomas tells the story of 58th Company Labour Corps but it has not been traced to date

[14] http://archiver.rootsweb.amcestry.com/th/read/GREATWAR/2002-02/1014660869

[15] http://archiver.rootsweb.amcestry.com/th/read/GREATWAR/2001-10/1003295364

[16] http://archiver.rootsweb.amcestry.com/th/read/GREATWAR/2002-02/1014660869

[17] www.cgsc.edu/CARL/nafziger/918BKWB.pdf p.23

[18] Statement of the Services, SDGW & CWGC

[19] Statement of the Services: handwritten sheet

[20] Medal Roll card index

[21] CWGC

Photographs:

STEPHENSON P.C. Family Photo

STEPHENSON P.C.
Family Photo

STEPHENSON P.C. Headstone

STEPHENSON P.C. Headstone

Family photo courtesy of Goldsmith family tree @ ancestry.com

One thought on “Stephenson P.C.

  1. Pingback: WOODLAND | The Fallen Servicemen of Southwest County Durham

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