Percy John Annis was one of two sons of William and Mary Ann Annis and both died in the First World War. Their parents, originally from Teigh and Oakham respectively, had lived in Edmonton, north London where Percy was born on 11 November 1888. His younger brother George Annis was born there two years later. In April 1911 Percy set sail for a new life in Canada, leaving Liverpool on the Tunisian where the ship's register records him as "a farmer going to Winnipeg." He worked as a farm labourer for the Sirrett family which had taken a Western Land Grant in Manitoba. When war broke out, he headed home on the White Star ship Megantic, arriving back on 16 November 1914. He joined up in Melton Mowbray in December, enlisting in the Leicestershire Yeomanry. In late May 1915, 204 men and two officers paraded at the Drill Hall in Melton Mowbray. After speeches, the contingent, led by the Regimental Colonel and the Regimental Band, marched to the railway station and departed for France. The Yeomanry had suffered heavily in the Battle of Frezenburg in mid-May and these men were going out as replacements. Having landed in France on 27 May, the contingent joined the 1/1st Leicestershire Yeomanry at Ypres. In March 1916 Percy was detached from the Yeomanry to join the newly-formed Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry) eventually becoming a member of 8th Squadron. The circumstances of Percy's death are recorded in the Cavalry Journal in an article by Captain T Preston MC who commanded 8th Squadron. It says on 23 March 1918 the Germans attacked Frieres Wood and Frieres-Faillouel village on the third day of their big Spring Offensive. The day opened with thick fog, at one stage so thick that the left-hand guns of 8th Squadron could not see at all and were in danger of being cut off. The Germans suffered heavy casualties against two killed on the British side including 'Corporal Annis (formerly Leicestershire Yeomanry) and one of the best of the younger NCOs.' George Phillips in Rutland and the Great War says Percy was shot in the head. He has no know grave and is remembered on the Machine Gun section of the Pozieres Memorial, Panel 93. Percy's father William had moved back to Rutland as a widower and settled in Edith Weston where his two sons are remembered on the war memorial. Percy is also remembered on the memorial in Oakham Castle to A Squadron, Leicestershire Yeomanry.
We are grateful to Peter Spooner for much of the information about Percy.
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