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George Edward HIRST

Main CPGW Record

Surname: HIRST

Forename(s): George Edward

Place of Birth: Woolley, Yorkshire

Service No: 17356

Rank: A/Corporal

Regiment / Corps / Service: King’s Own (Yorkshire Light Infantry)

Battalion / Unit: 10th (Service) Battalion

Division: 21st Division

Age: 24

Date of Death: 1916-09-25

Awards: ---

CWGC Grave / Memorial Reference: Pier and Face 11 C and 12 A.

CWGC Cemetery: ---

CWGC Memorial: THIEPVAL MEMORIAL

Non-CWGC Burial: ---

Local War Memorial: EARBY, YORKSHIRE

Additional Information:

George Edward Hirst was the son of George and Ann Hirst, née Wiper. Both parents were born at Thornhill, Yorkshire.

1901 Woolley, Yorkshire Census: Top Row, Woolley Colliery - George Ed. Hirst, aged 8 years, born Woolley Colliery, son of George and Ann Hirst.

1911 Ossett, Yorkshire Census: 24, Teall Street - Geo Edw Hirst, aged 18 years, born Woolley Colliery, Yorkshire, son of George and Ann Hirst.

George was married to Millicent Morton in 1911.

British Army WW1 Medal Rolls Index Cards: A/Cpl George E. Hirst, 17356, York L.I. Theatre of War (1) France. Qualifying date [for 1914-15 Star]: 11.9.15. K. in A.

British Army WW1 Medal and Award Rolls: A/Cpl George Edward Hirst, 17356, 9th Yorks L.I.; 10th Yorks L.I. K. in A. 25.9.16.

Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects: Pte George Edward Hirst, 17356, 10th Bn K.O.Y.L.I. Date and Place of Death: 25.9.16. In action. To whom Authorised/Amount Authorised: Widow - Millicent. £18 3s. 5d.

See also:
‘Earby in the First World War’ by Stephanie Carter, published by Earby & District Local History Society (2014).
‘Our Finest Crop’ by Steven Marshall, published by Earby & District Local History Society (2020).

Data Source: Craven’s Part in the Great War - original CPGW book entry

View Entry in CPGW Book

Entry in West Yorkshire Pioneer Illustrated War Record:

HIRST, Gunner Edward, aged 24, K.O.Y.L.I., son-in-law of Mr. Morton, manager Earby Council’s Sewage Farm, killed in action 1916.

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A/Corporal George Edward HIRST

A/Corporal George Edward HIRST

Regiment / Corps / Service Badge: King’s Own (Yorkshire Light Infantry)

Regiment / Corps / Service Badge: King’s Own (Yorkshire Light Infantry)

Divisional Sign / Service Insignia: 21st Division

Divisional Sign / Service Insignia: 21st Division

Data from Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914 - 1919 Records

Soldiers Died Data for Soldier Records

Surname: HIRST

Forename(s): George

Born: Woolley, Yorks

Residence:

Enlisted: Wakefield

Number: 17356

Rank: A/Cpl

Regiment: King's Own (Yorkshire Light Infantry)

Battalion: 10th Battalion

Decorations:

Died Date: 25/09/16

Died How: Killed in action

Theatre of War: France & Flanders

Notes:

Data from Commonwealth War Graves Commission Records

CWGC Data for Soldier Records

Surname: HIRST

Forename(s): George Edward

Country of Service: United Kingdom

Service Number: 17356

Rank: Corporal

Regiment: King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry

Unit: 10th Bn.

Age: 24

Awards:

Died Date: 25/09/1916

Additional Information: Son of George Hirst, of 24, Teall St., Ossett, Yorks; husband of Millicent Hirst, of 42, Skipton Rd., Earby, Colne, Lancs.

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PTE. ARTHUR GRUNDY - 10TH (SERVICE) BATTALION K.O.Y.L.I. (21ST DIVISION) by J.A. Richardson. (Published privately, 2008)

THE BATTLE OF MORVAL: 25TH – 28TH SEPTEMBER 1916

On Monday, the 25th September the Allies made a general attack from Martinpuich to the River Somme. On the British front the objectives included an area curving round the north of Flers and Martinpuich, and about 1,000 yards deep. The villages of Gueudecourt, Lesbœufs and Morval were also to be taken.

The attack on Gueudecourt was to be made by the 21st Division, with the 64th Brigade attacking on the right and the 110th Brigade on the left; the 62nd Brigade was in Divisional Reserve. To the right of the 64th Brigade were the Guards Division; to the left of the 110th Brigade were the 55th (West Lancashire) Division. Gueudecourt village was to be taken by the 110th Brigade. The 64th Brigade, with the 1st Lincolnshire Regiment from the 62nd Brigade attached to it for the attack, was given three objectives: The first objective, Gird Trench and Gird Support was to be taken by the 10th K.O.Y.L.I. and the 1st East Yorkshires; the second objective was a line running south-eastwards from the from the south-east corner of Gueudecourt village, this was to be taken by the 1st Lincolns. After the Lincolns had captured the second objective, the 10th K.O.Y.L.I. and the 1st East Yorkshires, having regrouped, were to pass through the Lincolns position and take the third objective, the Gueudecourt-Le Transloy road running from the north-east of Gueudecourt, where contact was to be made with the Guards Division. Two tanks should have been available to the XV Corps, but one became ditched and the other was not used until the next day, when tanks were to show what they could achieve.

An unsuccessful attack on Gird Trench had been made over the same ground allotted to the 21st Division by the 43rd Brigade of the 14th (Light) Division. This attack had taken place on the 16th September and their unburied dead remained on the battlefield where they had fallen.

Opposing the 21st Division were the 238th Reserve Infantry Regiment of the 52nd Reserve Division, who were on the right of their division in the Gird trenches south-east of Watling Street. On present day maps Watling Street is named Chemin des Guilmonniers and the ground over which this portion of the German trenches ran is named les Flaques. In front of Gueudecourt was the 1/6th Bavarian Regiment on the left of its division, the 6th Bavarian. Each German regiment had three battalions and there were three regiments to a division. The 51st and 52nd Reserve Divisions of the XXVI Reserve Corps had come down from Ypres to relieve the 185th Division and the 5th Bavarian Division. The relief had been completed by the 18th September.

The bombardment that preceded the attack began at 9:00 a.m. and increased in intensity hourly, but became a ‘hurricane bombardment’ between 12 noon and 12:30 p.m. At 12:35 p.m. the attack along the whole line began. In the 64th Brigade the 10th K.O.Y.L.I. was right attacking battalion with the 1st East Yorkshires on their left. Both battalions attacked in two waves with 100 yards distance between each wave. On leaving their trenches south-east of Watling Street they came under very heavy artillery, rifle and machine gun fire. A machine gun or guns at Point 91 caused many of the casualties. The advance continued towards Gird Trench, their first objective, but the barbed wire entanglements protecting the German trenches had hardly been touched by the British bombardment and both battalions were held up. Many men became stuck, some being impaled on the uncut wire. The East Yorkshires later mention seeing German officers running up and down on the parados of the enemy trenches, directing machine gun fire at the attackers. The attackers, other than find shelter in shell holes, could do nothing; the hail of bullets would almost certainly have hit anyone showing himself. Arthur Grundy was killed in this attack on the first objective.

The 1st Lincolns, on moving forward, were halted in the British front line by the heavy shell-fire put down by the enemy. The 9th K.O.Y.L.I. and the 15th D.L.I., who were in support, were so heavily shelled that they failed to reach the assaulting battalions. When at 5:00 p.m. the XV Corps H.Q. became aware of events on 21st Division’s front, the Divisional Commander, Major-General Campbell, was ordered to try again using the tank. Major-General Campbell obtained consent from Lieutenant-General Horne, the Corps Commander, to postpone a fresh attempt on the Gird trenches and Gueudecourt until the following morning. The survivors of the attack were then ordered to withdraw under the cover of darkness. Nightfall must have seemed a long time in coming, especially for the wounded, for until it was dark none could be brought back.

The reason why the German wire had not been cut by the British bombardment was that it lay in dead ground. This was ground that could not be seen by the British artillery observers from their observation posts. In this hidden ground the German wire remained intact and when the bombardment lifted from the first German line the enemy came up from their dugouts to meet the attackers with a terrible fire.

The failure of the attackers to take their objectives caused problems for the 4th Grenadier Guards of the Guards Division on the right of the 10th K.O.Y.L.I. The left flank company of the Grenadiers were forced to form a defensive flank. The other company of the Grenadiers then continued forward to their other objective. All the Guards Division objectives were taken on the 25th of September.

At about 6:30 a.m. on the 26th September, tank D4 of ‘D’ Company, Heavy Section Machine Gun Corps – later to be renamed as the Tank Corps – started out from Flers to help in clearing Gird Trench of the enemy. It came up either Pilgrims Way or Good Street – it is not certain which – both were tracks leading from Flers to Gueudecourt. When it reached Gird Trench the tank turned right and worked its way along the trench, firing as it went. Also, when a British aeroplane that had been directing an artillery bombardment upon Gird Trench signalled for it to stop, it then flew low and fired at the enemy with its machine guns. Bombers from the 7th Leicesters of the 110th Brigade, with their ‘C’ and ‘D’ Companies supporting them, steadily pushed the Germans south-eastwards towards the Guards Division. Any Germans taking refuge in their dug-outs were bombed and those trying to escape across the open country behind their trenches were fired upon by Lewis guns. In the capture of Gird Trench many of the enemy were killed and wounded. Eight officers and 362 other ranks surrendered, mostly from the 238th R..I.R., including the battalion commander. The tank then destroyed what remained of the 1/6th Bavarians in front of Gueudecourt and their battalion headquarters captured. The British losses had been light.

The Gird trenches were then occupied by the 15th D.L.I. advancing from the 64th Brigade front. Gueudecourt was captured later in the day. The 64th Brigade resumed their advance with the 15th D.L.I. the 10th K.O.Y.L.I. and part of the 9th K.O.Y.L.I. to a position short of the third objective. This advance appears to have been led by an officer of the 1st East Yorkshires with some of his own men and some from the 10th K.O.Y.L.I. who had refused to withdraw following the failed attack of the previous day. The 12th Northumberland Fusiliers then took over this front and advanced the short distance remaining to the third objective and dug in along the road.

At night the 62nd Brigade relieved the 64th Brigade; the 10th K.O.Y.L.I. marched to Bernafay Wood and bivouacked. They spent the 27th and 28th September resting and cleaning up. On the 29th they marched to Pommiers Redoubt and rested. The following day the Battalion marched to Ribemont where they were joined by fifty reinforcements. The 21st Division was then moved north to the region of Béthune.

The War Diary of the 10th K.O.Y.L.I. only lists casualties on the 25th September: 50 killed, 156 wounded and 97 missing. For the same date, ‘Soldiers Died in the Great War’ gives the total numbers of officers and men killed from the 64th Brigade, including the 1st Lincolns attached from the 62nd Brigade, as follows:

10th K.O.Y.L.I. - 104
1st East Yorkshire Regt. - 72
1st Lincolnshire Regt. - 29
15th D.L.I. - 1
9th K.O.Y.L.I. - 0

The figure for the 10th K.O.Y.L.I. above does not include three officers who were attached to the Battalion and are listed in Soldiers Died in the Great War under their respective battalions of the K.O.Y.L.I. Also these figures do not include seven soldiers that were killed in action with the 10th K.O.Y.L.I. on the 25th September. These men were amongst the drafts received by the 10th K.O.Y.L.I., their names are: Pte. F. Crabtree (5619), Pte. G. Hartley (6065), Pte. A.G. Jennings (6071), Pte. E. Murphy (4822), Pte. W. Platt (4827), Pte. H. Heeley (19329) and Pte. H. Hinchcliffe (19324). They are listed by the C.W.G.C. and Soldiers Died in the Great War as belonging to the 1/5th and 10th D.W.R.

Casualties from the 26th September listed in Soldiers Died in the Great War are:

1st East Yorkshire Regt. - 12
9th K.O.Y.L.I. - 6
1st Lincolnshire Regt. - 4
15th D.L.I. - 3
10th K.O.Y.L.I. - 3

The 10th K.O.Y.L.I. therefore lost a total of 117 soldiers: 7 officers and 110 other ranks during the Battle of Morval. Of those who died fifteen have known graves – fourteen of which were killed in action and one who died of wounds; most of them are buried in the Guards’ Cemetery at Lesbœufs. The bodies of the fourteen killed in action were probably recovered from the battlefield after the Germans had withdrawn to the Hindenburg Line in March 1917.

The 7 officers and 95 other ranks are commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing. Of this number, four are buried in unknown K.O.Y.L.I. soldier graves, in Combles Communal Cemetery Extension; the date of death on their headstones is the 25th September. There are also three graves in this cemetery of unknown K.O.Y.L.I. soldiers who lie next to a 10th K.O.Y.L.I. casualty from the 25th of September. There are no dates of death on these three headstones, but their proximity to the 10th K.O.Y.L.I. soldier’s grave could mean that they too were 10th K.O.Y.L.I. casualties from the 25th September.

Soldiers Died in the Great War lists four 10th K.O.Y.L.I. men who died of wounds that must have been received during the battle; all have graves:

27th September - 2
28th September - 1
30th September - 1

Pte. William Henry Brook (4791) who died of wounds at Heilly Casualty Clearing Station on the 28th September was a 1/5th D.W.R. soldier attached to the 10th K.O.Y.L.I. This makes a total of 122 known deaths attributable to the Battle.

England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966

1950

HIRST Millicent of 408 Leeds-road Nelson Lancashire widow who was last seen alive 1 January 1949 and whose dead body was found 2 January 1949 in the Leeds and Liverpool canal near Reedyford Bridge Nelson Administration Lancaster 24 July to Alice Preston (wife of William John Preston). Effects £222 1s. 6d.

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Additional Photo(s) For Soldier Records

A/Cpl George Edward Hirst

A/Cpl George Edward Hirst

Courtesy of Sylvia Pattison formerly of Skipton

The Hirst family c. 1900

The Hirst family c. 1900

Back row (l-r) - Ada, Mary, George Edward; front row (l-r) - George, Annie, Ann (née Wiper), Martha

Courtesy of Sylvia Pattison formerly of Skipton

George Edward Hirst, c. 1906 (sitting 2nd from left)

George Edward Hirst, c. 1906 (sitting 2nd from left)

Courtesy of Sylvia Pattison formerly of Skipton

Millicent Hirst, née Morton with (l-r) - Alice (b. 1912) and Nellie (b. 1915)

Millicent Hirst, née Morton with (l-r) - Alice (b. 1912) and Nellie (b. 1915)

Courtesy of Sylvia Pattison formerly of Skipton

Millicent Hirst, wife of A/Cpl George Edward Hirst and their daughter, Alice

Millicent Hirst, wife of A/Cpl George Edward Hirst and their daughter, Alice

Millicent Hirst, wife of A/Cpl George Edward Hirst and their daughter, Alice, with Millicent’s grandfather, Frederick Tuke and her mother, Rose Ann Morton, née Tuke

Courtesy of Sylvia Pattison formerly of Skipton

Postcard from A/Cpl George Edward Hirst to his wife Millicent (12 November 1915)

Postcard from A/Cpl George Edward Hirst to his wife Millicent (12 November 1915)

Transcription of message: November 12 1915 Dearest girl, Hope you have received the letter I sent on Monday. We are not having a bad time just now as we are staying in a very fair town for tonight at any rate. Am enclosing PC for Alice & have sent one to your Gladys. Best love from your loving husband George.

Courtesy of Sylvia Pattison formerly of Skipton

Postcard from A/Cpl George Edward Hirst to his daughter Alice

Postcard from A/Cpl George Edward Hirst to his daughter Alice

Transcription of message: Dear Alice Hope you like this card & I will send you another one next week. In English it says 'Please Jesus, Protect my dada'. I hope you say your prayers for me. With love from Dadda.

Courtesy of Sylvia Pattison formerly of Skipton

Silk postcard from A/Cpl George Edward Hirst to his daughter Alice (10 September 1916)

Silk postcard from A/Cpl George Edward Hirst to his daughter Alice (10 September 1916)

September 10 1916 Dear Alice Hope you like this card. I was very pleased indeed to get your PC which was very nice. Glad to hear you are alright. With love from Dad.

Courtesy of Sylvia Pattison formerly of Skipton

A/Cpl George Edward Hirst’s 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal

A/Cpl George Edward Hirst’s 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal

Courtesy of John Preston

A/Cpl George Edward Hirst’s 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal

A/Cpl George Edward Hirst’s 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal

Courtesy of John Preston

Next of kin Memorial Plaque

Next of kin Memorial Plaque

Courtesy of John Preston

View Craven Herald Articles

View Craven Herald Articles

Craven Herald and Wensleydale Standard Logo

13 October 1916

EARBY CASUALTIES

The death is reported (unofficially) of Corpl. George Edward Hirst, K.O.L.Y.I., at the age of 24 years. Deceased was a native of Ossett, where he lived before joining the Army two years ago. He went to France thirteen months ago and had never been home since, though wounded in February last. Corpl. Hirst was the son-in-law of Mr. Morton, manager of the Earby Council’s Sewage Farm, of 16, School Lane, Earby, where his wife and two children are now residing.

View West Yorkshire Pioneer Articles

View West Yorkshire Pioneer Articles

West Yorkshire Pioneer Logo

13 October 1916

EARBY CASUALTIES

The death is reported (unofficially) of Corpl. George Edward Hirst, K.O.L.Y.I., at the age of 24 years. Deceased was a native of Ossett, where he lived before joining the Army two years ago. He went to France 13 months ago, and had never been home since, though wounded in February last. Corpl. Hirst was the son-in-law of Mr. Morton, manager of the Earby Council’s sewage farm, of 16, School Lane, Earby, where his wife and two children are now residing.

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