Percival Sydney Barrett was born in Gorse Hill, Swindon in or around 1886, the youngest son of George and Naomi Barrett’s seven children. When he was about 5, Perival’s mother died. His father, who worked on the railway, remained a widower.
On 25th January 1909, in the parish church of Colwall, Percival Barrett married Emily Louisa Winters, the daughter of George and Mary Winters, of Purlieu Lane, The Wyche, Colwall.
A year after their marriage, Percival and Emily had a son, also called Percival. A year later, when the census was taken, Emily and her infant son were recorded as living with her parents, George and Mary Winters, in Purlieu Lane. Meanwhile, her husband Percy Barrett was working as a miner in the Welsh town of Pontypridd together with his 18 year-old brother-in-law Alfred Winters. Both were lodged in the house of a Mr Charles Biggs. In 1913 Percy and Emily had a daughter, who was baptised Naomi in honour of Percival’s late mother.
The outbreak of war in the summer of 1914 encouraged Percy, and possibly his brother-in-law Alfred, to enlist. Mining was at the time an extremely dangerous and often deadly profession, so ironically the battlefield may have seemed to them as something of an adventure as well as a safer way of earning money. Percy joined the Wiltshire Regiment, 1st Battalion, as a private (service number 6460), and on 14th October 1914 he landed in Rouen.
Percy was killed in action on 31st October 1914, only two weeks after arriving in France. His wife Emily remained a widow for two years; in 1916 she married John A. Banner, and that same year gave birth to a daughter, Phyllis.