Percy Hubert Ritchie, also known as Hugh Percy, was born on 26 May 1879, the youngest of ten children of David Ritchie (1829-1920) and his wife Mary Amelia Anstice of 'Scone Mills', Perth, Tasmania. Hugh attended the Launceston Church Grammar School. He sang soprano in the Exhibition Choir.
Percy was admitted to the Bar in 1902 and was articled for five years to the firm Law, Weston & Archer. He joined the army on 20 Dec 1916 and was attached to the Australian Field Artillery, 32nd Reinforcements as a gunner. He was promoted to sergeant on 1 Dec 1918 before being discharged with a broken leg on 23 Jul 1919. After his return from the war, Hugh was employed as a solicitor and barrister at Ritchie & Parker, Alfred Green & Co. until about 1936. He was active with the Red Cross executive, the RSSILA and the Anzac Hostel. He founded the Old Launcestonians, an organisation of old boys of the LCGS. He always gave his professional services free to ex-servicemen, and was awarded the King's Jubilee Medal.
On 11 Mar 1925, Hugh married Barbara Lucy White-Parsons at All Saints Church, Hobart. They had two sons in 1926 and 1927.