|Date of Birth||August 27, 1893|
|Place of Birth||Parishville, New York|
|Next of Kin||Samuel Reeves, father, 446 Home Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Trade / Calling||Clerk|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Date of Enlistment||March 18, 1915|
|Age at Enlistment||22|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||March 16, 1964|
|Age at Death||70|
|Buried At||Dayton Memorial Park Cemetery, Dayton, Ohio|
Percy Harper Reeves was born on 27 August 1893 in Parishville, St Lawrence County, New York. His father Samuel Reeves, a barber, was from Brantford, Ontario while his mother Mary Elizabeth (Eliza) Jesmer was from the Parishville area where her family farmed. By the time of the 1891 Canada census Eliza was living in Brantford and working as a seamstress. It is likely that the couple married in Parishville. By 1896 the young family had moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, giving birth to children Wilfred Laurier (1896-1980), Frederick Larrett (1897-1971), Victoria Beatrice (1900-1976), Mary Olive (1902-1969), Samuel Alfred (1905-1926), Howard Jesmer (1908-1964), and Garnett (1912-1974). Over the years while in Winnipeg the family usually took in boarders. At the time of the 1911 census Percy’s occupation was given as bookkeeper while in 1916, although overseas, he was listed as working as a clerk in a tobacco store.
Although he had been recently living in Kenora in northwestern Ontario, Percy enlisted on 18 March 1915 in Winnipeg. His occupation was given as clerk and his father in Winnipeg as next of kin. Previous military service was given as two years with the 90th Bugle Band. With the 1st Reinforcing Draft of the 44th Battalion, Private Percy Reeves embarked from Montreal on 1 June 1915 aboard the Grampian. A second set of attestation papers were signed at Shorncliffe.
Once in England Percy was transferred to the 32nd Reserve Battalion and then on to the 8th Battalion in mid July, taken on strength in the field on the 22nd. The 8th Battalion was awarded the following battle honours: Ypres, 1915, ’17, Gravenstafel, St. Julien, Festubert, 1915, Mount Sorrel, Somme, 1916, Thiepval, Ancre Heights, Arras, 1917, ’18, Vimy, 1917, Arleux, Hill 70, Passchendaele, Amiens, Scarpe 1918, Drocourt-Quéant, Hindenburg Line, Canal du Nord, Pursuit to Mons, France and Flanders, 1915-18.
On 6 December 1915 Percy was admitted to the No 2 Canadian Field Ambulance with influenza, rejoining the unit on the 14th. In mid January of 1916 he was transferred to the 2nd Infantry Brigade Headquarters and then on to the Canadian Army Corps Headquarters in May as batman to Captain Henry Edward Knobel. A former resident of Port Arthur, Ontario, Captain Knobel was one of three photographers hired by the Canadian War Records Office to travel to France and photograph battles, life at the front, and other activities. There is conflicting entries in Percy’s service record as to whether he remained with Captain Knobel or returned to the 8th Battalion. In late March of 1918 he was temporarily attached to the Canadian Official Photographer staff. In August of 1918 Percy was granted permission to marry. As a record was not found in England, it is possible that Percy married in France. With the end of the war he returned to England in February of 1919, embarking for Canada aboard the Empress of Britain on 20 April. Percy was discharged from service on 8 May in Winnipeg, proposed residence given as with his parents in Winnipeg.
Percy’s brother Wilfred enlisted at Valcartier, Quebec on September of 1914, serving with the 5th Canadian Mounted Rifles. Sustaining gunshot/shrapnel wounds to the thigh and foot at Sanctuary Wood in early June of 1916, he underwent surgeries and procedures before being returned to Canada where he was discharged as medically unfit on 30 November 1917. His brother Fred Larrett enlisted in September of 1915 at Camp Sewell in Manitoba and served overseas with the 10th Canadian Field Ambulance for the duration of the war. He was awarded a Good Conduct Badge. Fred was discharged from service in Winnipeg on 21 March 1919.
The 1920 US census found Percy living in Detroit with his brothers Wilfred (and wife) and Fred, working as an upholster at an auto factory. At the time of the census he was listed as a widower. He had applied for a passport that February to travel to France. On 15 July 1920, in St-Pol-sur-Ternoise, Percy married Germaine Marie Louise Pecqueur. Born on 24 April 1904 in St Pol, Germaine was the daughter of Louis Joseph Pequeur and Ursule Laure Delbarre. Having given birth to daughter Beatrice Louise, the family returned to the United States in June of 1921, arriving in New York on the 10th aboard the Aquitania.
Along with his parents and some of his siblings, Percy, Germaine, and Beatrice were to make Dayton, Ohio their home. Over the years his occupation was given as painter/decorator on various lists. He was a member of Stillwater Lodge No 616 F&AM, the Scottish Rite Valley of Dayton, and the Painters Union No 249.
Percy died on 16 March 1964 at his residence. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Germaine, daughter Beatrice (Jack) Thompson, siblings Victoria (JP) Norton, Mary (Earl) Scarsdale, Larrett, all in Florida, Wilfred of Exeter, Ontario, Howard of West Carrollton, Ohio and Garnett of Dayton as well as two grandsons. He was predeceased by his brother Samuel Alfred in a motor cycle accident in 1926 and his parents Samuel (1952) and Eliza (1962). Percy’s wife Germaine died on 11 July 1982 and is interred with Percy and most of his birth family in the Dayton Memorial Park Cemetery in Dayton.
By Judy Stockham
Obituaries: courtesy of the Dayton, Ohio Public Library
Grave marker photo: GraveHunter on Findagrave.com