genealogy of the Bird and Musgrove families
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Percy Thomas Ross D.C.M.

It is not known if these Rosses were connected to the Rosses of Swanscombe but it is likely.

One of William Bird of Newnham's daughters was Elizabeth.  She married Thomas Ross in 1843.  One of their grandchildren was Percy Thomas Ross.  All these articles were extracted from the Hastings and St Leonards Observer.

24th September 1898

Our men have done well, nay more than well, and in the front rank stand Ross and Todd.  Unfortunately I know nothing of the latter sportsman except by repute.  The former however I know well and unhesitatingly say that we have in Percy Ross a new illustration on the side of my much cherished theory of hereditary transmission.  Rowing is, so to say, in the blood of the Rosses.  The father of the young successful oarsman did splendid service with the sculls in his younger days, while of the mother, Mrs Ross of Tudor House, I might say that if she may not be styled an authority on oarsmanship, at any rate I know no lady who takes so keen an interest in the sport. 


24th February 1900 - supplement

Our hearts are too full and we cannot say what we really feel; our thoughts are too deep for words; but I should like this opportunity of expressing the great honour it is to be asked on behalf of the Sergeants and the 1st Cinque Ports Rifle Volunteers to resent this watch to our old friend Sergeant Ross. (loud cheers).  On this occasion it is not the time to draw invidious distinctions, but I am sure his fellow sergeants will pardon me if I say, at all events there is no smarter Volunteer in the Battalion than Sergeant Ross. (cheers).  Sergeant Ross is always the same, he knows his duty, he knows how to enforce his position as a Sergeant, and knows the exact place he ought to take.  If I were a Boer at 500 or 600 yards behind a rock, I should pray God I did not get Sergeant Ross in front of me (cheers) because I am quite certain that when I peeped from behind the rock he would very quickly take advantage of it.  Drink to the health of these 42 men, good health to them, God speed them, and a happy return.


This speech was greeted with loud and continuous cheering and, Sergeant Ross, on bowing his thanks, was given a great ovation.


The watch was a dainty black metal keyless one, with gold hands. Inside the case was the following inscription :  “1st C.P.R.V. Presented to Sergt, P.Ross on his volunteering for South Africa; from the Sergeants of the “A” and “F” Companies. 1900”.


Major Langham, Lieut. Howe and the Mayor all heartily shook hands with the gallant Sergeant, and the audience caught the infection of appreciation and spontaneously sang “For he’s a jolly good fellow”.  After, the band had played the music of the “Absent Minded Beggar”.


3rd March 1900

In local aquatic circles there is no more popular man to be found than Mr Percy Ross.  As Vice-Captain of his rowing club and a senior oarsman, "P. T. R." has distinguished himself.  Six feet high, broad and muscular, he should make an ideal soldier.  He is the grandson of the late Alderman Ross, J.P., five times Mayor of Hastings — to whom we are so much indebted for “bringing out” Hastings as the Premier Cinque Port — and lives with his mother, Mrs Ross, who is herself most energetic with substantial assistance for the men at the Front, at Tudor House, Hastings.  

Mr Ross was educated at the University School, and afterwards in Germany. As a black and white artist, he shows great talent, whilst as a versatile and accomplished writer he is locally renowned.  

Mr Ross served for some time the Isle of Wight Volunteers.  Mr Ross has joined Mr T. Brassey's Sussex Troop.


31st March 1900 Rowing Club "send off" Dinner :

In entertaining their comrade, Mr. P. T. Ross, to a send-off dinner, and presenting him with a pair of field glasses as a souvenir, the Members of the Hastings Rowing Club did a courteous and a graceful act. The young Lance-Corporal, who, with some eight or ten other of his townsmen, leaves England today under the command of Captain Brassey for South Africa, has borne victoriously the Club's pennon in many a closely contested aquatic struggle.


There was little speech-making at the gathering. The hearts of hosts, not their tongues, spoke. In a few words the presentation was made by the Captain of the Club, and in fewer words still it was acknowledged by the khaki-uniformed young soldier, the honoured guest of the occasion. The local oarsmen have always been proud of the pluck and ability of their truly gallant comrade, and now they are prouder of him than ever. In leaving home, in surrendering his lettered leisure, and all the domestic comforts which the possession of money can secure, for the purpose of enduring the discomforts of, and risking limb and life in warfare, Lance-Corporal Ross is doing no more than hundreds of young Englishmen and Colonials similarly socially well-placed have done.


But his self-abnegation comes home to us, as it were, because he is known to most of us, not only for his rowing prowess, but for the literary and artistic skill which he has publicly shown, and also for the honoured family name which he bears — a name which held in such high repute that only two or three years ago the Town Council dedicated a highway at Blacklands to the memory of his paternal grandfather.


However, young Ross could not do otherwise than he is doing. The blood of soldier runs in his veins. There are some few still living who have a personal recollection of his great grandfather the master gunner.


And, indeed, his grandsire — the once well known Alderman, and five times Mayor of Hastings, showed himself true patriot, for he gave up a great part of his life to digging out, collecting, and annotating the annals of the town's military and other history, and succeeded in establishing beyond all question the right of this borough to style itself the Premier Cinque Port.


Nor do his inherited patriotism and soldier like instincts end here.  Mr. Ross is an only son, and by his departure his widowed mother — whose uncle and brother, by the way were Army men — will be left alone. But it is only a week or two since that, on my asking this estimable lady, who known for her generous gifts to the local Museum, and her presentation to the town of a costly granite horse trough, whether she was not averse to her son's going, her reply was: " No; he is merely doing his duty, and if I were a young man I would do the same."

While this spirit lives in old England the Empire has nothing to fear.  The mother of the Gracchi is not yet dead.  May she receive her reward in the return of her boy her covered with laurels, and sound in body and mind.  And when he comes back — realising his own hope, as expressed at the Cafe Monico on Monday evening, that he "may be spared to again take part, in a year or two at the most, in South Coast rowing" — and with him his Hastings Yeomen comrades, his townspeople will, I venture to predict, show that they know how to fitly honour this little band of young heroes.



27th April 1901 - Corporal Ross returns home


4th May 1901 - Honouring Corporal P.T.Ross - Rowing Men hold a Dinner - A Happy Reunion

This is an article about a dinner for members of The Hastings Rowing Club "to their gallant comrade Corporal Percy T. Ross of The Imperial Yeomanry".  It says that more than once he had displayed conspicuous bravery under fire and he withstood the hardships of a particularly trying campaign without a murmur and was never indisposed until a bullet in his hand and a wound in one leg incapacitated him.  "To look at his tall manly form, one is impressed that he is as hard as nails and much of his athletic bearing is doubtless due to the prominent part he has taken in sports more especially rowing.  That he has stamina he has many times proved in the Galley Races and the way in which he and a fellow oarsman swept the Coast in the pair oared races of 1899 is still fresh in the minds of local sportsman.  That he is a jolly good fellow goes without saying.  The dinner was quite a quiet and unpretentious affair.  The menu was is shown to the right.

The Chairman proposed a toast to Corporal Ross which was enthusiastically received.  He spoke in high terms of what Mr Ross had done at the War and felt sure he had done his best to get on a level with "Brother Boer".  In further remarks the speaker made graceful reference to Mrs Ross, the proud mother of a gallant son, who had also gone to South Africa and made a name for herself that any lady might envy.  She had gone over 7,000 miles to help nurse the sick soldiers in hospital and many a wounded warrior would remember all his life the gentle and loving attention received at the hands of Mrs Ross although they would never know her name or who she was.  The speaker also said that Corporal Ross had shown something of what he was composed when he bravely and under a heavy fire of the enemy carried the body of Leiutenant Stanley to a place of safety but unfortunately the gallant officer did not live, he having been mortally wounded.  Such unflinching courage was surely worthy of decoration with The Distinguished Service Order (loud applause).  

Corporal Ross replied to the toast and said he gratefully appreciated the mention made of his mother more than anything else.  He was very grateful what had been said about him but said he had been painted in far too glowing colours.  One thing he could not do, he said, was make a speech.  He thanked everybody for all the kind things they had said and the interest taken in his wanderings in South Africa. 



Mr P. T. Ross was the recipient last Saturday of a handsome oak chest, containing valuable silver articles, presented by Mr Edwin J. Stanley, M.P., as a token of appreciation of the ex-Corporal's services rendered at his gallant son's death a year ago next Sunday.


Readers of “A Yeoman's Letters” will remember that Corporal Ross, with five others and their Officer, Lieut. Stanley, were attacked unexpectedly by the Boers, through the Devons and Dorsets having retired unknown to them.


The story of Lieut. Stanley's death is simply and feelingly told :


“Our bandoliers were nearly empty, and the Boers were creeping round to our right, which would enable them to enfilade our position.  The first three retired, and we were blazing away to cover them, with our heads just showing as we fired over the top of the donga, when the man on my right said : ' Mr Stanley is hit’, and looking at him, for he was close to me on my left, I saw he was shot through the head, the blood pouring down his face.  Sir Elliot Lees, the other man, and myself were the only ones left in the donga then, so the Captain taking hold of poor Stanley by his shoulders, and I his legs, we started to carry him off."


They carried the Lieutenant into cover, the bullets buzzing, whistling, thumming round them, and all asked permission to stay with him, but Sir Elliot Lees, seeing that the Lieutenant was mortally wounded, ordered them to come away.  A (?)ife man wanted to go back, and Corporal Ross claimed the right, saying that Mr Stanley was his officer.  He got permission, and worked his way back and “lying down by him, I arranged my hat so as to keep the sun off his face, and cutting off part of my left shirt sleeve, with the water from my bottle, used half of it to bathe his temples and wipe his mouth. The other I moistened and laid over the wound.  He was quite unconscious, of course, and his case quite hopeless.  Once I thought he was gone but was mistaken. The second time, however, there was no mistake.  I waited with the brave man who had been our Troop leader for the last fortnight, and who had, I am sure, never known fear."

5th October 1901







Linked toRose Inskipp; Percy Thomas Ross; Robert Ross; Thomas Ross; Thomas George Ross

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