May 3, 2012

Wilby, Percy

July 1915 …

Drummer P Wilby has written to friends at Brandon, and in his letter gives some of his recent experiences.

“I am writing these few lines in the trenches, we are in the reserve trenches. A, B and C Companies are in the firing line, and we have to carry their rations and water, and do what they want, but for my part I would rather be in the firing line, as it is just as dangerous where we are, if not more so. There are plenty of shells bursting round about, and it fairly got our nerves up the first day or two, but we have got used to it now. I was with another chap looking at a grave when a shell burst over us and cut off the top of the tree under which we were standing, and a piece of the shell fell between the two of us. We did not stop any longer. It was a bit exciting for a minute or two.”

 

September 1915 …

FROM A BRANDON SOLDIER – A letter has been received from Drummer Percy Wilby, addressed to his parents Mr and MRs F Wilby, Cemetery Lodge, Brandon. He writes:-

“I am quite well. I must tell you that I went to see two of our chaps’ (Norfolks) funerals today. They were both shot through the head, and killed instantly. Poor young chaps, they were both from Norwich. One was in ‘A’ Company and another in ‘B’ Company. They were killed where one of our mines had blown up the Germans. They were on sentry duty there. It makes ten of our Norfolks killed. They were buried quite decently, and the graves look well. They all have got white crosses and kerbing round them.

What about the Germna Fleet now? It was very good what our chaps put up on a big board in big German letters so the Germans could see them. I do not think this war will last much longer; three more months, I think, will see it through.”

October 1915 …

Drummer Percy Wilby

Mr and Mrs Wilby, of the Cemetery Lodge, have received a postcard stating that their son, Drummer P Wilby, of D Company, 7th Norfolks, had been admitted to the General Hospital at Rouen suffering a wound in the chest. He joined Kitchener’s Army at the outset of the war, and was one of the first recruits to leave Brandon. He had served in France for about five months.

 

December 1915 …

SOLDIER’S LIFE SAVED BY BOOKS – Prvt. Percy Wilby, son of Mr and Mrs F Wilby, of the Norfolk Regiment, is now home with his parents after having been in hospital since October 13th. He was in the British advance made on the above date, when a German bullet struck him in the chest, passed through a thick wallet, a pocket book, a New Testament, into his body. Those books saved his life as they are all shot through and much torn. A number of photos were also mutilated, but not one face was in any way disfigured. The fortunate soldier is making good progress toward recovery.

 

December 1915 …

Drummer Percy Wilby, 7th Norfolks, son of Mr and Mrs Fred Wilby, who owes his life to a pocket wallet which he carried in his left breast pocket and which diverted the bullet.

 

June 1916 …

WOUNDED – Mr and Mrs Fred Wilby, of Cemetery Lodge, received an official notification that their son, Private Percy Wilby, 1st Norfolk Regiment, was wounded on June 4th. Last year he narrowly escaped, as an enemy bullet struck him in the chest, passing through his pocket book, wallet, photos and New Testament, which turned the bullet from his heart.