Oldham Historical Research Group

'What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
- Only the monstrous anger of the guns.'
from 'Anthem for Doomed Youth' by Wilfred Owen


Soldier’s Death at Boundary Park Hospital

The first group of wounded soldiers arrived at Boundary Park Military Hospital on 13 July 1916 and were placed in Infirmary buildings blocks D & E. Amongst this first group of 66 men was Private Arthur Percival of the 10th Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment. A coal miner by trade Arthur Percival enlisted in the York and Lancaster Regiment on 13 January 1915 and arrived in France on 12 October 1915. He was wounded on the 1st July during the attack on Fricourt.

Amongst his surviving service record is a synopsis of his treatment at the Hospital:

Boundary Park Military Hospital, Oldham
No. 18371. Private Arthur Percival, aged 33 years, 10th Battalion, York & Lancaster Regiment, “C” Company, Serial No, F. J. 317
medical report
13th July, 1916. Admitted with Machine Gun Bullet Wound in left left: path of entry – outer side just in front of fibula, path of exit, inner side of leg just behind tibia: large swelling over … calf. Eusol dressing and packaging applied.
18th July, 1916. Swelling fluctuating: Wound opened up under chloroform. Blood clot evacuated: gauze packing, soaked in eusol applied.
19th July, 1916. Secondary haemorrhage occurred: packed with gauze soaked in eusol.
22nd July, 1916. Secondary haemorrhage again occurred and again packing of gauze, soaked in eusol, applied.
23rd July, 1916. Gas gangrene developed in region of calf extending from knee to near ankle: skin discoloured: deep crepitations all over affected area. Circular amputation under chloroform through middle of thigh without flaps or any attempt at closure. Eusol dressing applied. Patient recovered consciousness but died two hours after.
Robert P Barker
Medical Officer in Charge
26th July 1916

The Oldham Chronicle of 17 July 1916 carried a report of his death and subsequent funeral arrangements:

This (Thursday) afternoon the body of one of the heroes of the big advance who had died from his wounds in the Boundary Park Military hospital, Oldham, was conveyed to his home at Sheffield, where he will be interred on Saturday. His name is Private Arthur Percival (18371) aged 33 years, of the York and Lancaster Regiment, who died on Sunday. He was admitted to the hospital on July 13th suffering from machine gun bullet wounds in the left leg. His home is at 33 Tannery Street, Woodhouses, Sheffield, and he had been in the army 19 months, nine of which have been spent in France. The body was enclosed in a coffin, and drawn in a hearse supplied by Messrs R H Coop and Sons, Yorkshire Street, and left the hospital shortly before one o’clock. Walking in procession to Clegg Street Station were about 100 wounded comrades of the deceased. On the coffin were beautiful floral tributes from the men at the hospital and from the officials. At Clegg Street Station the coffin was reverently placed in the two o’clock train, and at Woodhouses Junction it was to be taken out and to the home of deceased’s parents.
newspater report

Arthur Percival is buried at Sheffield (Woodhouse) cemetery.

Courtesy Local Studies & Archives, Oldham

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