Left: Redruth Rugby Team (1913-14). Percy Lidgey is seated, second right.20150213_152955





Of the thousands who bravely enlisted to fight in foreign fields, few had ever before strayed more than a few miles from their homes and families.

In the War many spent years away from the place they called home and those they loved. For the ones left behind in the fields, farms, mines, towns and villages of Cornwall, there was no Skype and no email to bring news of loved ones.

Often families spent years waiting for scraps of information, while at the same time dreading the approach of the postman in case he brought the worst possible news.

Some mothers never accepted the loss.

Percy Lidgey, a Redruth rugby player, was killed on the Western Front but his body never found.  He was a sapper  – attached to the Royal Engineers and tunnelling under enemy lines, dangerous and often fatal work.

His mother, Emily, kept the light burning through the night in the passage at their Redruth home, and left the door unlocked for many years afterwards in the hope that Percy might come back.  Sadly, he never would.

War records state that his death was ‘accepted’ and that he died in ‘France and Flanders’.  He is commemorated at the Arras Memorial.

We are grateful to Paddy Bradley of Redruth and Ruth Lidgey of Troon, Cornwall,  for information about this. Nancy (Lidgey) Edgar in Oregon, US, also kindly sent photographs and reminiscences.