Percy Matthews Garland
Percy Matthews Garland was born in Canning Town to Annie Garland on 17 December 1893 and died, aged 23, of wounds (multiple shrapnel Empyema) at No. 2 Canadian General Hospital, Le Treport, France on 4 April 1917.
Percy was Isaac and William’s first cousin.
The 1901 census shows Percy M Garland, aged 7, living with his maternal grandparents George and Mary A (aged 63 and 59 respectively) who raised him – and their daughter/his mother Annie, aged 22, in Dowsetts Lane, Ramsden Bellhouse. Grandfather George was an agricultural labourer.
The 1911 census shows Percy still living with his paternal grandparents in Dowsetts Lane. Aged 17, he was unmarried and his occupation was a ‘thatcher’s assistant’.
Percy emigrated to Canada on 29 May 1913, aboard the Ousonia, docking at Quebec; following his Aunts Alice and Emma who had moved there in 1907/8. (Mrs R Farraway, Hurd Avenue, Burlington, Ontario.)
Percy enlisted into the 86th Machine Gun Battalion, a branch of the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force on 1 September 1915 citing his occupation as a pipefitter, and his father Philip as next of kin (source Attestation Paper, no. 174283)
Private Percy Garland, of the 26th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (New Brunswick Regiment) rests in the Mont Huon Cemetery, Le Treport, France.
Subsequent research by Dorothy Kew, who lives in Burlington, Ontario, Canada, has found that Percy was born in London to Alice Garland, not Annie. He was born out of wedlock and at this time he may have been living as Annie’s son to save the shame.
When he emigrated to Canada he followed his “aunt” Alice and here new husband Robert Faraway. It does not seem as though he realised he was Alice’s son as she is given as his aunt to both the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and also in a notice of his death in the Burlington Gazette.
It’s curious that on his attestation form Percy gave his next of kin as Philip Garland, his uncle, in Billericay, Ramsden, Essex, rather than Alice (her husband, Robert, had himself enlisted a few months before Percy). Yet, according to Percy’s service file, he listed Alice Farraway, his “aunt”, as the beneficiary of his will. She also received his medals — the War Medal and the Victory Medal.
To see more of Dorothy Kew’s work on WW1 research click here
Click on the PDF below to see Percy’s Service Record