Rank or Title
Date of Birth
4 Sep 1895
Date of Death
26 May 1915
War time / or Pre War occupation
Place of Birth
World War I Address
Place of Death
War Memorial Location
Soldier or Civilian
Pte Percy Francis Darby, 2676, 1/24th Battalion, County of London Regiment ("The Queen's"), was killed in action in a charge against German trenches near Givenchy on May 26th, 1915. He was aged 19.
He was the son of George and Emily Darby, of 31 Biscot Road. His father was manager of the hat manufacturing factory of Messrs Smith & Small in Bute Street.
The first that Mrs Darby heard of her son's death was via a letter from Pte Charlie Bailey to his own mother in Brighton. He said Pte Darby died fighting and did not suffer any pain. Out of No. 7 Platoon there were only (L-Cpl) Jack Lawrence and himself who had escaped being casualties among the Luton boys.
Writing to Mrs Darby, L-Cpl Lawrence said: "We had to make a bayonet charge across 200 yards of open ground at 6.30 on Whit Tuesday. We got through (some of us) the German trenches, but when I enquired about Percy I was informed that he was killed in the charge. I know the exact spot where he fell with his section commander, Sgt Strong. Death must have been instantaneous. Therefore he had no pain." He had spoken to Pte Darby just before the charge and he was quite cheerful.
Pte Darby was a lover of sport and belonged to the Waller Street Brotherhood cricket team, and was a member of The Casuals FC. He enlisted on September 4th, his 19th birthday.
The Darby family were living at 6 Dallow Road at the time of the 1901 Census but had moved to 31 Biscot Road before the 1911 Census Percy had an older sister, Doris May, plus a younger brother, Stanley George, who was serving with the Royal Engineers and was home on leave from Peterborough when the news arrived of his brother's death.