Royal Field Artillery; Tank Corps
Place of birth:
Date of death:
Cause of death:
Grave or panel reference:
Name of father:
William James Foy
Name of siblings:
William; Harry; Jocelyn; Quinton
Name(s) of children:
Date of birth:
Place of enlistment:
Age at death:
Cemetery or memorial:
Name of mother:
Louisa Foy, nee Anderson
Name of spouse:
Florence Mabel Foy, nee Fewings
1911 Census - 26 Charteris Road
Four members of the Foy family served in the First World War. Percy Foy, along with two of his brothers, returned safely, but his twin brother Jocelyn was killed in action in France in September 1918. All four men are commemorated in St Mellitus.
Percy and Jocelyn were born in central London in July 1894, and together with Harry and Quinton (another boy, William, died in 1909) they were the sons of William James Foy, and his wife Louisa, nee Anderson, both from Ireland. Originally a policeman, by 1911 William was working as a ‘Traveller and Collector, Coal Trade.’ The family lived at 26 Charteris Road, very close to the Boys Club and Mission in Lennox Road run by New Court Chapel. In the 1911 census, Percy, aged 16, is listed as ‘Butcher Retail.’ He was to maintain his trade long after the war.
Percy seems to have begun his military service in the Royal Field Artillery, where he was promoted to Corporal and then at some point he transferred to the Tank Corps. He ended the war a Sergeant, like his twin brother Jocelyn. Percy was discharged on 2 May 1919 and from the pension records it is clear that he had a disability and also that he was going to sea as his address is a ship in Liverpool.
Percy had actually begun his career at sea in 1912, interrupted it for military service, and then resumed it. On 13 September 1919 he sailed from Southampton to New York on RMS Aquitania, an ocean liner of the Cunard Line, as a ‘3rd Butcher’. There were also five Assistant Butchers, so Percy was not the most junior. In 1921 Percy married Florence Maud Fewings at St Mark’s Church in Tollington Park, and in the 1930s the couple lived first in Shaftesbury Road and then at 11 Edison Road in Crouch End. By 1937 Percy was Chief Butcher on RMS Carinthia, arriving that July in New York from Nassau, the Bahamas and Havana.
Percy served as a Merchant Seaman during the Second World War. At the outbreak of war in September 1939, the Register for 11 Edison Road lists him as ‘Mercantile Marine (Chief Butcher)’ still on the Carinthia. In August the ocean liner had been hastily converted into an armed merchant cruiser and she began service on 30 December 1939. The trans-Atlantic crossing was extremely dangerous. On 6 June 1940 the Carinthia was torpedoed off the west coast of Ireland by a German U-boat. The ship was badly damaged and sank 36 hours later. Four people died during the sinking, but fortunately, if Percy was on board, he survived.
Percy continued to work as a Chief Butcher on liners after the Second World War, including on the Mauretania in the 1950s, and served at least 38 years at sea. He died in 1971.