Percy Cyril Edward Gast was born in the West Sussex village of Nutbourne in 1889. His parents were William and Eliza Gast and he was one of sixteen children, seven of whom survived.
William was an agricultural labourer, and farming was the line of work the whole family went into; by the time of the 1911 census, they had moved to Rustington, near Worthing, where Percy was working as a cowman.
When war broke out, Percy enlisted, joining the Royal Garrison Artillery. His skillset soon identified, he was transferred over to the 696th Agricultural Company of the Labour Corps.
While full details of his time in the army are not readily available, Private Gast served his time on home soil. Towards the end of the war he contracted influenza and pneumonia and was admitted to the Mile End Military Hospital in Newham, East London.
Sadly, the lung conditions were to prove his undoing; Private Gast passed away on 20th November 1918, at the age of just 29 years old.
Percy Cyril Edward Gast’s body was brought back to Rustington for burial. He lies at rest in the graveyard of St Peter and St Paul’s Church in the Sussex village.