Day: August 29, 2011

Military Monday – George Hurtley (1891-1918)

I have spent the whole of the Bank Holiday weekend on the computer trying to add information to my Dawson and Hurtley lines in my family tree.  I feel like I have done really well and pleased with the progress I have made.

During the last hour I discovered another First World War hero in the family.

George Hurtley is my 1st cousin 2x removed.  He was born in Bradford, West Yorkshire about 1891 to parents Thomas Hurtley and Jane Willis.  I already had George in my tree but until today I hadn’t done any other work on his parents or his siblings.

As far as I can tell George was the youngest of at least four children.  His siblings were

• Mary Elizabeth – born c.1877

• Ann – born c.1879

• Jessie – born c.1889

George’s father worked as gardener for over 30 years until he died in 1907.  This afternoon I found George on the 1911 census living with his widowed mother and his sister  Jessie.  He had followed in his father’s footsteps and was working as a gardener.

Just over two years later George married Lucy Sibley Clark in Bradford.

Sometime after the outbreak of war George joined the army.  He first served in the Yorkshire Dragoons before being assigned to Northamptonshire Regiment 7th Battalion.

The 7th Battalion was formed at Northampton in September 1914 and attached to 73rd Brigade in the 24th Division. They moved to the South Downs and into billets in Southwick between November 1914 and April 1915.  They were moved on to Woking in June 1915.

And on 2 September 1915 they landed at Boulogne.

George was killed in action in France on 22 March 1918.  He is commemorated at the Pozieres Memorial in the Somme, France.

Medal Card

The Pozieres Memorial relates to the period of crisis in March and April 1918 when the Allied Fifth Army was driven back by overwhelming numbers across the former Somme battlefields, and the months that followed before the Advance to Victory, which began on 8 August 1918.  The Memorial commemorates over 14,000 casualties of the United Kingdom and 300 of the South African Forces who have no known grave and who died on the Somme from 21 March to 7 August 1918.  The Corps and Regiments most largely represented are The Rifle Brigade with over 600 names, The Durham Light Infantry with approximately 600 names, the Machine Gun Corps with over 500, The Manchester Regiment with approximately 500 and The Royal Horse and Royal Field Artillery with over 400 names.

Pozieres Memoriale entrance - from CWGC Website

The memorial encloses Pozieres British Cemetry, Plot II of which contains original burials of 1916, 1917 and 1918, carried out by fighting units and field ambulances.

The remaining plots were made after the Armistice when graves were brought in from the battlefields immediately surrounding the cemetery, the majority of them of soldiers who died in the Autumn of 1916 during the latter stages of the Battle of the Somme, but a few represent the fighting in August 1918.  There are now 2,758 Commonwealth servicemen buried or commemorated in this cemetery. Of these 1,380 are unidentified but there are special memorials to 23 casualties known or believed to be buried among them.  There is also 1 German soldier buried here.

The cemetery and memorial were designed by W.H. Cowlishaw, with sculpture by Laurence A. Turner.  The memorial was unveiled by Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien on 4 August 1930.

I am incredibly proud to have found George and to be able to write about him.