Percy Worner, a school teacher, played St Sidwell's United from 1901 and for Exeter City between 1904 and 1906. Mainly a reserve, Percy had been involved in the formation of St Sidwell’s when still in his teens. He was killed in France in September 1916.
Percy, officially ‘Worner’ but often recorded as ‘Warner’, played just a handful of times for St Sidwell’s in league football between 1901 and 1904. For Exeter City he made his debut against Gunnislake in a Plymouth and District League fixture at St James’ Park on Boxing Day 1906 before playing another four games that season followed by nine at the start of 1907/08 as the club entered its last term as an amateur institution.
Percy had played football at school before joining Exeter Athletic and then, with other players coming from the Wesleyans, the new St Sidwell’s United in 1901. Training to become a teacher at St Luke’s training college, he played football alongside other trainees and befriended Evelyn Lintott who, as well as briefly representing Exeter City, went on to appear for Plymouth Argyle, Queens Park Rangers, Leeds City and England before losing his life on the first day of the battle of the Somme on 1 July 1916.
Recorded in the 1911 census as working at St Sidwell’s school, the 25-year-old Percy was living at Egerton Park Road close to St James’ Park with two Exeter City professionals - Spencer Bassett (25) and Arthur Coates (28) - living as boarders with the family. Spencer too was to die in France at the Front.
When war broke out, Percy enlisted with the Public Schools’ Corps and spent six months at the Front before returning home to train for a commission. Back in France, as a second lieutenant with the 9th Devons, he was killed in action on 4 September 1916.
Percy Worner is commemorated at the Bernafay Wood British Cemetery in Montauban and on memorial plaques in the St Sidwell’s Centre and at St James Park. His medals and the cross which marked his grave in France are on display at the Keep Military Museum in Dorchester.
For more information about Percy Worners’ life, war service and death see his entry in the Killed in Action section of the Archive
|Item: Remembering Percy Worner