Born in 1879 in Oxford, son of Joseph Bates, florist, born in Nettlebed, Berkshire and Emma nee Billingham born in Litchborough, Northamptonshire, who in 1891 were living at 1 St John's Villas on St John's Road, Oxford. He is known to have been the proprietor of the Railway Hotel, Wheatley, in 1916. He served as a batman in the Royal Naval Air Service, joining in 1916 and rated as Air Mechanic 2; then Private in the Royal Air Force, service no. 36408, normal rate of pay 1/8d, terms of enlistment ‘D. W.' (duration of the war). Percy Bates and his wife Lily were still living at the Railway Hotel according to the 1921 Register of Electors. See also reference to him in the Wheatley Tribunal chapter.