J. T. George

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J. T. George

Postby GeorgeM » Tue Jul 28, 2009 9:01 pm

Hello, I am trying to find some information regarding John Thomas George (my great grandfathers brother in law)- killed 7 July 1916 - Service No. 22180. Any information would be gratefully appreciated.
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Postby LarsA » Tue Jul 28, 2009 11:20 pm

His medal index card have him enteroing France on 2 9 1915, and serving with the 3rd battalion.

ATB;
Lars
In memory of
17239 R J Washington MM, TEM, 2nd & 8th btn WWI
7852 W Russell, 2nd & 9th btn WWI
J Davies, 1st btn WWII, POW at Tobruk
4197291 Pte F Sheridan, POW France 1940
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Postby scully » Tue Jul 28, 2009 11:57 pm

Hi George,

John Thomas George (22180) served with the 3rd Battalion Worcestershire Regiment. He landed in France on the 2nd September 1915. He was killed in action on the 7th July 1916 at the Leipzig Salient. Below are some details about what happened.

Regards,

Louis (webmaster)

THE LEIPZIG SALIENT (First Phase) JULY 1916.

Dawn of July 3rd found the 3rd Worcestershire crowded in narrow shelter-trenches inside Aveluy Wood. Around them the trees were broken and stripped by shell-fire. On every side shells burst incessantly. On the far side of the river valley the steep Thiepval Ridge loomed up sharply against the growing light, and on that Ridge the troops in front were fighting fiercely in a tangle of German trenches—the Leipzig Salient. The German front line had been captured, but the supporting trenches were resisting all attacks.

The Battalion remained in reserve for forty-eight hours, momentarily expecting to advance and bombarded from time to time with heavy shells. Not until after dark on July 4th did the companies move forward across the River Ancre into reserve trenches at Authuille.

Further forward, the 1st Wiltshire had taken over the captured German front line and were fighting fiercely among the complicated inner defences of the Leipzig Salient. The fighting swayed to and fro. Before dawn on July 5th the enemy made a sharp attack. The Wiltshire held their ground but their losses were so heavy that about midday two companies of the Worcestershire were sent up to their support. Rain had been falling, and the trenches up which the two companies struggled were choked with mud. That evening, after a heavy bombardment, the Wiltshire attacked and gained a little ground, but only with heavy loss, and another company of the Worcestershire was sent to their aid.

Thenceforward for forty-eight hours (July 6th and 7th) Wiltshire and Worcestershire lads fought desperately in the deadly salient (In that fighting 2Lieut. K. L. Spiers showed great bravery for which (and subsequent actions) he was subsequently awarded the M.C.). The two battalions were intermixed in a maze of trenches under continuous heavy shell-fire. Bombing attacks were made by each side whenever enough bombs could be brought up along the choked communication trenches.

One company of the 3rd Worcestershire lost all its officers, killed or disabled: but Sergeant C. Price took command and, although wounded himself, he reorganised and consolidated the position, refusing to leave until his men were secure. At another point, where casualties had been very heavy, all the officers, both Worcestershire and Wiltshire, had fallen. Sergeant F. A. Morrow took command of the leaderless men of both units, held his ground and re-established the position (Sergt. Price and Sergt. Morrow were both awarded the D.C.M.). Attack and counter-attack followed in quick succession, and the losses were very heavy; but the troops fought splendidly. "When I got into the Leipzig Salient," a staff officer (A.C. Johnston) wrote of the fighting on July 7th, "I found the place in a most awful state. The enemy's shelling was tremendous, trenches were obliterated and the rain helped to make what was left of them crumble away; dead, dying and wounded were all over the place. The two companies of the 3rd Worcestershire were only 50 men all told, the Wiltshire had only three officers left, and there seemed no end to the German shells and the consequent casualties (our guns were hard at it too, of course). The men however were behaving simply magnificently. In all previous fights I've been in there have always been a certain number of men going back on some excuse or other, but to-day there was no one, every man was holding on, though there was hardly any trench left to hold on to, and all were ready to meet any attack the Bosche should feel disposed to try. The latter……………..were hoping to wind us out of the trenches, while they had some very good snipers hidden away somewhere or other who picked our men off at intervals through the trenches made by the shell-fire……….. The mud was truly wonderful and in places it was almost impossible to move……….One saw magnificent work being done by the regimental stretcher-bearers going backwards and forwards over the open or across gaps, binding up wounded and bringing them in………. and a stretcher-bearer of the Worcestershire named Banner must have earned the V.C. several times over (Private Frederick Banner was subsequently awarded the D.C.M. for his " conspicuous bravery in going over the parapet under intense fire and carrying back many wounded men." ? ?.)."

During the day of July 7th the remaining company of the 3rd Worcestershire was ordered forward into the Salient, and Battalion Headquarters also moved up into the battle.

Towards dusk on July 7th the struggle died down and reinforcements came up. The Worcestershire and Wiltshire were relieved and moved back into reserve (The four days of fighting had cost the Battalion 2 officers (2Lieut. H. E. Ginn and 2Lieut. F. J. Hollowell and 19 men killed : 5 officers (Lieut. W. P. Wilson, 2Lt. T. Cruwys, 2Lt. F. Percy, 2Lt. S. J. Knott, (mortally), and 2Lt. F. G. Morgan) and 147 other ranks wounded, and 15 missing).

Late that evening, to the general surprise, came news that the 7th Brigade was to be relieved and to move further to the right. About midnight Yorkshire Territorial battalions of the 49th Division took over the Thiepval front, and the companies of the 3rd Worcestershire tramped south ward through the darkness to dugouts near Crucifix Corner, where they slept the sleep of exhaustion.

Subsequently a Special Divisional Order was issued with regard to those operations of the 7th Brigade in the Leipzig Salient. It began " The G.O.C. wishes to congratulate the Wiltshire Regiment and the Worcestershire Regiment on their gallant behaviour during the operations which took place between the 6th and 8th July," then, after giving a description of the attack of the Wiltshire, the order stated that the two companies of the 3rd Worcestershire engaged, " behaved with the greatest gallantry and dash……… and with their assistance all enemy attempts at counter-attack were repulsed." The order concluded by saying that, " Those successes……….could not have been obtained except for the heroic courage, stamina and devotion to duty of the officers, N.C.O's. and men of the 1st Battalion Wiltshire and 3rd Battalion Worcestershire Regiments, so many of whom have earned undying honour by giving their lives in their country's cause."

Better, perhaps, than any official order is a glimpse of the veteran Battalion at the close of that fighting, as seen by outside eyes. It is to be found in the published history of a Yorkshire Territorial battalion: " At daybreak," wrote the Yorkshire historian, of July 8th, the third stage in the journey to the line took the battalion across the Ancre, past a sign-post with the legend Authuille—Thiepval—Berlin,' to 'Quarry Dugouts,' a series of shelters in the chalk cliff side near Crucifix Corner on the Aveluy—Authuille Road. Remnants of the 3rd Worcester battalion were occupying these dugouts when our battalion arrived there early in the morning of July 8th. These men had been in the line continuously since July 1st and were in a state of extreme exhaustion. They were asleep and crowded together in the small stuffy dugouts. It was almost impossible to waken them. Only one officer was left, and he roundly declared that he would not disturb his men for any damned battalion in the British Army. There were about eighty of them, all that was left of his battalion (Actually these were the survivors of two companies, under Captain G. S. Briscoe.). They marched off at noon, covered with mud and blood, and decorated with German helmets and bayonets and other souvenirs of the Leipzig Salient…….."

By the afternoon of July 8th the 3rd Worcestershire were concentrated in Aveluy Wood in readiness to move south.

To understand that move it will be necessary to describe what had been happening in the area to which the 3rd Battalion now came.
_______________
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