British War Medal & Victory Medal, India General Service Medal 1908, bar Afghanistan N.W.F. 1919, Lieutenant W.P. Rhodes, South Staffordshire Regiment & 1-109th Infantry, wounded in action at the gallant taking of Bayonet Trench by the 8th South Staffs in April 1917.
British War Medal & Victory impressed: “2-Lieut. W.P. Rhodes”
I.G.S. impressed: “Lieut W.P. Rhodes. 1-109 Infy”
William Percival Rhodes was born on 24th July 1894 in Leeds, Yorkshire, by 1911 he was a 16 year old schoolboy at The College, Filey Road in Scarborough.
He was commissioned on 7th August 1915 as 2nd Lieut in the 11th Battalion South Staffs, which was a reserve battalion and did not go abroad, he was called up for active service in September 1916.
Birmingham Daily Post 15th September 1916;
“War Office Appointments 14th September 1916;
Temporary Second Lieuts transferred from reserve Bns with seniority shown against their names – S. Staff. R. – W.P. Rhodes (7th August 1915)”
When he was called up he was only 21, soon afterwards at the end of April he was wounded in action with the 8th Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment, receiving shrapnel wounds to his abdomen and left leg at the 51st Field Ambulance, admitted on 23rd April 1917, and transferred to the Casualty Clearing Station.
Birimgham Mail 4th May 1917:
The casualty lists issued last night contained the names of 538 officers (158 dead and 380 wounded or missing) and 3361 non commissioned officers and men (1073 dead and 2288 wounded or missing.)
The names of the officers belonging to local regiments appear in the lists…
Wounded – …Sec-Lieut W.P. Rhodes, S. Staffs. Regt….”
On this one day during the taking of “Bayonet Trench” on 23rd April 1917, the 8th Battalion lost 4 Officers killed, 6 officers wounded, 3 Officers both wounded and missing, 2 officers wounded at duty.
Along with 26 other ranks killed, 133 wounded, 58 missing and 1 wounded at duty.
By the end of the day there were no officers left standing the other ranks were left to fend for themselves until 5 am when they retreated having no one to issue orders.
A telegram the next day from the 8th South Staffs war diary; “Dear Collins, I have just heard from the C.R.A. 33rd Division that all his men are full of admiration at the most gallant way in which the South Staffords attacked Bayonet Trench yesterday.
All the F.C.O.’s who saw it describe it as a magnificent show. Yours, Philip Wheatley (C.R.A. 17th Division).
He died on 24th July 1973 in Christchurch, Hampshire, where he had been living retired since at least 1939 with his wife Elsie Vernon Rhodes.