112 years after the sinking of RMS Titanic, a blue plaque will be unveiled for Percy Fletcher, the Tooting Bugler whose young widow Mary Meaney was from Kilrush. 

South London historian Geoff Simmons discovered that Percy Fletcher, the Bugler on the Titanic lived near his home in Tooting. Following research, he wrote up the story for his blog and told it on his local Guided Tours.

On the eve of the ship’s sinking on Sunday April 14th,  a blue plaque will be unveiled on Percy’s home in Lessingham Avenue, SW17.

Tyrone born Geoff has had a lifelong interest in the Titanic story. Always on the look-out for engaging tales to tell on his local Walks he couldn’t believe his luck when Percy turned up. ‘The Titanic story resonates with so many people, all over the world and is a great addition to our Wandsworth heritage, especially now we are going to be London Borough of Culture in 2025,” he recalled.

Kitted out in a smart uniform, the role of bugler was high-profile and has been characterised in several film adaptions, including James Cameron’s acclaimed 1997 version. In the days before public address systems, Percy’s job included playing a tune to summon passengers to the dinner table. The voyage to New York would be the adventure of a lifetime and newly-wed Percy must have thought the world was his oyster, sadly it turned out not to be the case – he was one of 1,496 people who lost their lives on the ship’s maiden voyage, 112 years ago.

Geoff also found out that Percy had a wife. On 7 January 1912, just a few months before the disaster he married Mary Meaney in St Gregory’s Roman Catholic Church in Wandsworth. Mary lived locally but was originally from Kilrush where her late father Thomas was a draper. After Percy’s death she migrated to Canada and married again.

The big Plaque Unveiling starts with ‘Percy’s Tooting Tour’, the walk sets off from the Grade II listed The King’s Head pub, at 84 Upper Tooting Road; from here participants will be shown around some of the places the Fletcher family would have known. The event also includes the first public reading of a poem crafted for the occasion by local resident, John Byrne, and features Percy’s bugle call, played by ten year old local trumpeter Caspian Loth, and a section of the ‘Last Post’ in tribute to all who lost their lives. Organisers are hopeful there will be a rendition of ‘The Cliffs of Dooneen’ to mark Mary and her Clare connection.

 

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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