Percy Lyulph (“Perf”)Wyndham was a regular army officer, a Lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion Coldstream Guards. He died at Soissons aged 26 on 14th September 1914. The BEF had reached the Aisne river, and he was shot through the head by a sniper as he led his men out of a wood. At the time there was a lot of troop movements to and fro across the river, and his body was never subsequently found for burial. He is commemorated on the memorial at La Fouerte-sous-Jouarre, on the banks of the Aisne.
He came from a very aristocratic family, his grandfather Percy was the younger son of George Wyndham, 1st Baron Leconfield of Petworth House, and his father George was a prominent politician, the MP for Dover, and Secretary of State for Ireland, where Percy has spent some of his childhood. They shared a love of poetry. Percy’s mother was Sibell, Countess Grosvenor, previously the widow of the Duke of Westminster. Sibell was widowed again in 1913, just before the war. Perf’s father died suddenly in Paris where he had gone on holiday with his long-term mistress, and Perf had to go to bring back the body.
The family estate was Clouds, at East Knoyle in Wiltshire, which had been built by the elder Percy. His parents and especially his three aunts were prominent members of a late Victorian “set” called the Souls, who often met at Clouds. After his grandfather and father had both died between 1911 and 1913, Perf had moved into Clouds on his marriage to Hon. Diana Lister (daughter of Lord Ribblesdale and sister of Hon. Charles Lister) in 1913.