Arthur Percival Biography

Arthur Ernest Percival was born December 26, 1887, in Hertfordshire, England. Percival attended school locally in Bengeo and later attended Rugby. He rose to colour sergeant in the school's Volunteer Rifle Corps. Arthur was regarded as a talented sportsman during his schooling days.

After he completed his schooling, Arthur worked as a clerk for the iron-ore merchants, Naylor, Benzon & Company Limited in London. On the first day of World War I, Percival enlisted as a private in the Officer Training Corps of the Inns of Court.

In 1916, he was awarded the Military Cross. By October of that year, Percival took a regular commission as a captain with the Essex Regiment. In 1917, Arthur became a battalion commander with the temporary rank of lieutenant-colonel. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order.

After the war, Percival spent time serving in Ireland, before returning to England where he attended the Staff College, Camberley from 1923 to 1924. He recieved an appointment as Major with the Cheshire Regiment. Then Arthur served four years with the Nigeria Regiment of the Royal West African Frontier Force in West Africa.

Percival went on to become a full colonel. From 1936 to 1938, he was the General Staff Officer Grade 1 in Malaya. In 1941, Arthur was created Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB).

During World War Two, Percival was dispatched to Malaya. On December 8, 1941. the Japanese 25th Army landed on the Malay Peninsula. Percival had been left in a difficult position on Malaya with poorly trained troops, and by January 27, 1942, Percival ordered a general retreat to the island of Singapore. The Japanese had invaded Malaya with over two hundred tanks, the British Army in Malaya did not have a single one tank.

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By February 8, the Japanese troops had anded on the northwest corner of Singapore island. Seven days later, Percival was forced to surrender after being told that ammunition and water would both run out by the next day. After the fall of Singapore, Percival was made the scape=goat for what in many cases were other peoples mistakes. However, Percival did make numerous mistakes, including resisting building fixed defences in either Johore or the north shore of Singapore.

Percival was held prisoner first in Changi Prison, then Formosa, and then in Manchuria. After the War, Percival returned to Britain. In 1946, he retired from the army.

Arthur went on to be President of the Hertfordshire British Red Cross. In 1964, he was made an Officer of the Order of St. John. Arthur Percival died at the age of 78 on 31 January 1966.

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