Arthur Percival

Army Officer
Born Dec 26, 1887

Lieutenant-General Arthur Ernest Percival, CB, DSO & Bar, OBE, MC, OStJ, DL was a British Army officer and World War I veteran. He built a successful military career during the interwar period but is most noted for his involvement in World War II, when he commanded the forces of the British Commonwealth during the Battle of Malaya and the subsequent Battle of Singapore.… Read More

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Arthur Percival.


1887 Birth Arthur Ernest Percival was born on 26 December 1887 in Aspenden Lodge, Aspenden near Buntingford in Hertfordshire, England, the second son of Alfred Reginald and Edith Percival (née Miller). … Read More


1901 13 Years Old Percival was initially schooled locally in Bengeo. Then in 1901, he was sent to Rugby with his more academically successful brother, where he was a boarder in School House. … Read More
1906 18 Years Old Percival's only qualification on leaving in 1906 was a higher school certificate. … Read More


1914 26 Years Old However, his military career began at a comparatively late age: although a member of Youngsbury Rifle Club, he was still working as a clerk for the iron ore merchants Naylor, Benzon & Company Limited in London, which he had joined in 1914, when the Great War broke out. … Read More
1915 27 Years Old The following year he was dispatched to France with the newly formed 7th (Service) Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment, which became part of the 54th Brigade, 18th (Eastern) Division in February 1915. … Read More
1916 28 Years Old Percival took a regular commission as a captain with the Essex Regiment in October 1916, whilst recovering from his injuries in hospital. … Read More
1917 29 Years Old In 1917, he became battalion commander with the temporary rank of lieutenant-colonel. … Read More


1918 30 Years Old For a short period in May 1918, he acted as commander of the 54th Brigade. … Read More
1919 31 Years Old 1 More Event
Percival's studies were delayed in 1919 when he decided to volunteer for service with the Archangel Command of the British Military Mission during the North Russia Campaign of the Russian Civil War. … Read More
1920 32 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1920 Percival served in Ireland against the Irish Republican Army (IRA) during the Anglo-Irish War, first as a company commander and later the intelligence officer of the 1st Battalion of the Essex Regiment, in Kinsale, County Cork. … Read More
1921 33 Years Old 1 More Event
A second assassination squad was dispatched to London in March 1921, but was forced to flee Liverpool Street Station when the police learned of their plans.


1929 - 1931 3 More Events
1932 44 Years Old With Dill's support, Percival was appointed to command the 2nd Battalion, the Cheshire Regiment from 1932 to 1936, initially in Malta.
1935 47 Years Old In 1935, he attended the Imperial Defence College.
1936 48 Years Old Percival was made a full colonel in March 1936, and until 1938 he was General Staff Officer Grade 1 in Malaya, the Chief of Staff to General Dobbie, the General Officer Commanding in Malaya. … Read More


1938 50 Years Old …  In March 1938, he returned to Britain and was (temporarily) promoted to brigadier on the General Staff, Aldershot Command.
1939 51 Years Old Percival was appointed Brigadier, General Staff, of the I Corps, British Expeditionary Force, commanded by General Dill, from 1939 to 1940.
1940 52 Years Old 1 More Event
He was then promoted to acting major-general, and in February 1940 briefly became General Officer Commanding 43rd (Wessex) Division.
He considered the possibility of the Japanese landing in Thailand to "burgle Malaya by the backdoor and conducted an appraisal of the possibility of an attack being launched on Singapore from the North, which was supplied to the War Office, and which Percival subsequently felt was similar to the plan followed by the Japanese in 1941.
1942 54 Years Old Along with the other senior British captives above the rank of colonel, Percival was removed from Singapore in August 1942. … Read More
1945 57 Years Old 1 More Event
As the war drew to an end, an OSS team removed the prisoners from Hsian. Percival was then taken, along with Wainwright, to stand immediately behind General Douglas MacArthur as he confirmed the terms of the Japanese surrender aboard USS Missouri (BB-63) in Tokyo Bay on 2 September 1945. … Read More
1946 58 Years Old He retired from the army in 1946 with the honorary rank of lieutenant-general but the pension of his substantive rank of major-general.


1949 61 Years Old 1 More Event
Thereafter, he held appointments connected with the county of Hertfordshire, where he lived at Bullards in Widford: he was Honorary Colonel of the 479th (Hertfordshire Yeomanry) H.A.A. Regiment T.A. from 1949 to 1954 and acted as one of the Deputy Lieutenants of Hertfordshire in 1951.
1950 - 1957 2 More Events
1964 76 Years Old He also worked as President of the Hertfordshire British Red Cross and was made an Officer of the Venerable Order of Saint John in 1964.
1966 78 Years Old Percival died at the age of 78 on 31 January 1966, in King Edward VII's Hospital for Officers, Beaumont Street in Westminster, and was buried in Hertfordshire. … Read More
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