Percy Oliver (Percy) MUSGROVE

MUSGROVE, Percy Oliver

Service Number: 2731
Enlisted: 2 August 1915, Geelong, Victoria
Last Rank: Driver
Last Unit: 14th Field Artillery Brigade
Born: Bamganie, Victoria, 12 June 1894
Home Town: Bamganie, Golden Plains, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Labourer
Died: Natural causes, Geelong, Victoria, 26 January 1981, aged 86 years
Cemetery: Geelong Western Cemetery, Victoria
Lawn section Ref LAWN-06-006
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World War 1 Service

2 Aug 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 2731, 23rd Infantry Battalion, Geelong, Victoria
27 Oct 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 2731, 23rd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ulysses, Melbourne
27 Oct 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2731, 23rd Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
23 Feb 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 58th Infantry Battalion
17 Mar 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Driver, 14th Field Artillery Brigade , Assigned to 55th Battery at its formation.
7 Sep 1919: Embarked AIF WW1, Driver, SN 2731, 14th Field Artillery Brigade , Embarked from England aboard Euripides (A14) for Australia
19 Dec 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Driver, SN 2731, 14th Field Artillery Brigade

Help us honour Percy Oliver Musgrove's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Stephen Holding

Percival (Percy) Oliver Musgrove was born a twin to sister Elsie Caroline Musgrove at Bamganie near Meredith, Victoria on the 12th June 1894.   Their parents were Henry Musgrove (1849-1918) and Hannah Rice Gillet (1852-1946).

He enlisted in the AIF at Geelong in August 1915, a few days before the August offensive commenced at Gallipoli.  Initially he was assigned to the 6th reinforcements for the 23rd Battalion and spent some time at Broadmeadows training camp before embarking for Egypt in October 1915.

Whilst in Egypt, he was transferred to the newly formed 58th Battalion and then subsequently to the 14th Field Artillery Brigade where has was assigned as a Driver to the 55th Battery.   It was there in the early days of the 55th Battery that he befriended two men that would become two of his best mates – they were Ernest Norman Peterkin (/explore/people/165978) (4372) and George Henry Cameron Holding (/explore/people/176999) (1748/1555).

Over the next couple of months, George, Percy and Ernest came to terms with workings of the 18 pounder artillery gun – and of course the unescapable sand, flies and relentless heat of the Egyptian desert.

Percy served in the 55th Battery for the entire war – heading to the Western Front with the rest of the 5th Division in June of 1916.  Likely he was involved in their first engagement at Fromelles in July 1916.  Had he not been fortunate to transfer from the 58th Battalion some months earlier, he would have been crossing the open ground of no-mans land near the Sugarloaf at Fromelles rather than working with the artillery a little way behind the front line.  Percy’s profile picture on this page is taken at Sailly Sur La Lys, a village to the west of Fromelles, in October of 1916.

In April of 1918, Percy’s battery was located adjacent the 53rd Field Artillery Battery – from which it is believed that the fatal shot was fired from a Lewis machine gun that brought down Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen, otherwise known as the Red Baron.  Richthofen’s aircraft crashed into a field not far from their battery position – although not certain, it is likely that Percy witnessed the whole event. 

Percy returned to Australia in October of 1919, just seven days short of having spent four years abroad.  He was discharged on the 19th December 1919.

On the 18th September 1926, Percy married Eunice Lois Schober (1894-1979) and together they had one daughter, Mavis Lois Musgrove (1931-1988).  The lived for some years in Melbourne before moving to the North West of Victoria in the 1940’s. A list of names and addresses of the 55th Battery Association, dated 30th March 1953, lists Percy as being the Postmaster at Watchem.  

Later, Percy and Eunice moved back to Geelong where they spent their remaining years.  Eunice died on the 9th January 1979 aged 84 years – Percy passed away two years later on the 26th January 1981, aged 86 years.  They are buried in the Geelong Western Public Cemetery.

 

 

NOTE : This listing and biography complied by Stephen Holding, grandson of George Holding (one of Percy's mates from WW1).  If you are connected to Percy, please request the RSL Virtual War Memorial to pass your contact details on to me.    

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