Sutton St James in shock at teacher’s death in 1916

Sutton St James church. Photo: SG191012-269TW
Sutton St James church. Photo: SG191012-269TW
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Sutton St James villagers were shocked at the news of the death of teacher Percy Samuels in 1916.

Percy, or Signaller Percival Hutchinson Samuels, taught at the village school where his father, Mr W F Samuels, was headmaster.

The former Spalding Grammar School student had enlisted a year earlier in the 3/4th Lincolns, aged 19.

The report said Percy was not strong, and had had more than one serious illness but was getting on well in the Army until he became dangerously ill with peritonitis.

The family was informed by Long Sutton police that their youngest son had died during his operation.

The report said: “Nothing that the village has ever known has created such a shock or aroused so much sympathy among the whole of the parishioners.”

The funeral, held at the village church, was one of the largest ever held there, with many people not able to get in.

There were over 50 floral tributes and many of the schoolchildren brought sprays of flowers they had made, “a tribute to the teacher they had loved”.

Beside the hearse walked the bearers and the buglers of Percy’s regiment, Lieut Bamber, Sgt Bishop, and then the mourning coaches.

After the coffin was lowered, the Last Post was blown on the bugles by the soldiers.

Percy was said to be first-class in musketry and in the signal section, having obtained 399 out of a possible 400 marks.

Before joining the Army, Percy was scoutmaster to the local Boy Scouts.

Mr Samuels had two other sons serving in the war.

The report ended: “Mr Samuels’ three boys have all been bravely doing their bit, and we hope that the two remaining ones may be spared.”