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George Childerley

George Childerley


George was the son of Charles and Lydia Childerley. George was born in Eltisley on 30 November 1884 and lived with his family in Caxton End. Charles and Lydia had eight children (Phyllis, Sidney, George, Tamar, Nellie, Ada, Hilda Maude, and Doris). In the 1911 census George, aged 26 and an agricultural labourer, is still living at home with his parents, elder brother Sidney, and two sisters Hilda Maude and Doris, but by the time he enlisted four years later, he was living in London and working as a postman.

George enlisted in London, on 5th January 1915. He enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery, and the ‘Imperial Service Badge’ that he is wearing in the photo shows that he was a Territorial Gunner and had volunteered to serve abroad. The guns used by the Royal Field Artillery were horse-drawn, medium-calibre guns and howitzers. George was in the ‘A’ Battery, which in 1914 was based at Lambeth. Each battery had four guns. The ‘A’ Battery was in the 235th Brigade, 47th Division, which was sent to France in March 1915.

We don’t know exactly when George went to France, but we do know from the local newspaper, the St Neots Advertiser, that George was home on leave with his family for a week in April 1916. On his return to the front, he would have been with the RFA, involved in skirmishes with the German army while work was being carried out to improve a stretch of the trenches south of Loos, including Vimy Ridge, which had been taken over from the French. It was discovered that the Germans had been carrying out a lot of tunnelling work in this area and British Army Royal Engineers Tunnelling Companies were brought in to combat their activities, with both sides working to destroy tunnels and enemy positions, and to take control of bomb craters.

Later that summer, on 1 August, George’s brigade marched to billets at Bealcourt, then on to Boufflers, where a ‘tactical scheme’ was carried out over the next three days, crossing the river by means of pontoon bridges. The brigade marched on to billets at St Hilaire, then Flesselles, then Flechencourt, which they reach on 12 August. On 13 August one section of each battery relieved 104 Brigade RFA in trenches just west of Mametz Wood, and took up positions in the frontline. The objective over the coming days was to take Switch Trench, a strong German position running through the centre of High Wood, which was to the north-east of Mametz Wood, on the other side of the village of Bazentinle-Petit. The next day, 14 August, the brigade War Diary reported that their barrage was kept up all night at rate of 1 round per gun per 3 minutes 18 pounders and 1 round per gun per 4 minutes for Howitzers, and that one of the gunners from ‘A’ Battery, Gunner A Spencer, had been wounded that night.

On 15 August there was a similar barrage as on the previous night, and the War Diary reports that No. 1903 Gunner G Childerley ‘A’ Battery died of wounds.


George Childerley
Gunner 1905 ‘A’ Battery, 235th Brigade,Royal Field Artillery 47th Division

30 November 1884 – 15 August 1916 (aged 31 years)

  After the Armistice, several smaller cemeteries were moved to become part of Dantzig Alley British Cemetery, and George is now one of 3,769 men lying in this cemetery; his grave lies on a slight slope, facing across the field to Bottom Wood, not far from where he died.

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