LANCE CORPORAL PERCY HARTLAND POWIS
SOUTH STAFFORDSHIRE REGIMENT
25TH MAY 1917 AGE 33
BURIED: MAROC BRITISH CEMETERY,, GRENAY, FRANCE
Percy Powis's inscription comes from To You Who Have Lost by John Oxenham, pseudonym of the poet William Arthur Dunckerley (1852-1941), from his 1915 collection 'All's Well':
I know! I know!
The ceaseless ache, the emptiness, the woe, -
The pang of loss, -
The strength that sinks beneath so sore a cross,
" - Heedless and careless, still the world wags on,
And leaves me broken ... Oh, my son! my son!"
Yet - think of this! -
Yea, rather think on this! -
He died as few men get the chance to die, -
Fighting to save a world's morality.
He died the noblest death a man may die,
Fighting for God and Right and Liberty; -
And such a death is immortality.
Powis's grandparents, John and Mary Martha Morris, are buried in Cannock Chase Town Cemetery, Staffordshire. Their gravestone includes a mention of Lance Corporal Powis, 'the dearly loved son of George and Agnes Powis and the idolized grandson of John and Mary M Morris'. This is followed by the fifth and sixth lines of the second verse of Oxenham's poem. Not only was Oxenham one of the most popular poets of the First World War but the last three lines of the second verse is a popular inscription both on headstones and on war memorials.
Percy Hartland Powis served with the 6th Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment, a territorial battalion. He was mobilised soon after the outbreak of war and crossed to France on 5 March 1915.
On 25 May 1917, the Germans subjected the South Staffordshire's line to two heavy barrages, one at 4 am and one at 11 am. They followed this up at 11.30 am with a counter-attack 'made in considerable force'. In the twenty-four hours the battalion suffered thirty-eight casualties of whom five were killed, among them Percy Powis.