Percival was born in Alfreton, Derbyshire on 8th April 1884 to Thomas, Manager and Secretary of Alfreton Gas Company, and Isabella. He had two siblings, Louisa and Thomas.
He was educated at Chesterfield Grammar School, then Armstrong College where he trained as a teacher. He became Master at Dame Allan's Endowed School, Newcastle and in 1911 was listed as living at Portland Road, Jesmond with his widowed mother Isabella.
Percival had been gazetted into the Northumberland Fusiliers, 5th Battalion on 21st December 1910. He was promoted to Lieutenant on 1st December 1911 and Captain on 12th April 1913.
At the outbreak of war, he volunteered for foreign service, serving in France in April 1915. He was badly gassed on 24th May and invalided home. On recovery, he was attached to the 2nd Line Battalion as Second in Command, with the temporary rank of Major, but reverted back to Captain, joining the 1st Line Unit in France in 1916.
Percival was killed in action by shellfire whilst in the trenches. He died on 5th February 1916 aged 31.