Private 24003 George Bagley

Killed in Action on Monday, 23rd April 1917, age 28.
Commemorated on Bay 6 of Arras Memorial, Pas De Calais, France.

4th Bn., Worcestershire Regiment. 88th Brigade of 29th Division.

Son of the late George and Theresa Bagley; husband of Beatrice Mary Bagley, of 11, New St., Cradley, Cradley Heath, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Halesowen, Resident: Cradley Heath.

First landed France & Flanders, 16th December 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the St. John's Halesowen War Memorial, and Cradley War Memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/739271/

Genealogical Data

Birth of George Bagley registered December quarter 1888 at Dudley.

1891 Census
6 Rounds Square, Hall Street, Tipton, Staffs.
George Bagley (38, Chainmaker, born Tipton), his wife Thirza (38, born Tipton), and their 7 children: Samuel (18, Chainmaker, born Tipton), Matilda (16, born Tipton), Mary (13, born Tipton), Sarah Ann (10, Scholar, born Tipton), James (7, Scholar, born Tipton), Alice (4 Scholar, born Tipton), and George (2, born Tipton).

George Bagley died in 1892, and his widow Thirza died in 1901 leaving their children living in Quarry Bank. The 1901 Census describes James Bagley as 'Head' of the household despite being only 18 years old.

1901 Census
26 Stour Hill, Quarry Bank, Staffs.
James Bagley (18, Head, Chainmaker, born Quarry Bank), Mary Green (24, Sister, Widow, born Quarry Bank), George (12, brother, born Quarry Bank), Joseph Pearson (21, Brother-in-Law, Puddler, born Quarry Bank), and Sarah Ann Pearson (20, Sister, born Quarry Bank).

In 1911 James Bagley was living at 10 Stour Hill, but now just with his wife and children. George was boarding at number 20.

1911 Census
20 Stour Hill, Quarry Bank, Staffs.
Isaiah Holt (40, Iron Worker, born Brierley Hill), his wife Mary (35, born Quarry Bank), their 4 children, and George Bagley (22, Boarder, Chain Striker, born Tipton).

Marriage of George Bagley and Beatrice M. Holt recorded December quarter 1912 at Stourbridge.

Personal Data

After George's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £2/15/1d (2 pounds, 15 shillings and 1 penny); this was paid to his widow, Beatrice M., in July 1917. His War Gratuity was £8/0/0d (8 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his widow in December 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Walter had enlisted in approximately July 1915.

Action resulting in his death

Following courtesy of the late Graham Hodgson's article on Cradley Links: http://www.cradleylinks.com/alfred_willetts.html.
On the night of April 19th 1917 the 4th Worcesters marched from Arras to the front line near Monchy Le Preux, under heavy shell fire. One officer and four Other Ranks were killed, and 20 Other Ranks were wounded during this time.

The order finally came for April 23rd and the attack was to be carried out in two phases. Phase One was to be the capture of a hill known as 'Infantry Hill' and this fell to the 4th Worcestershire. Following the successful completion of this objective, the 2nd Hampshire were to pass through the Worcestershire position and capture two woods further on.

Just after first light on April 23rd the Worcestershire attack went forward through a storm of shells. The German first line was reached and easily captured, and the attackers moved on up the hill with casualties mounting. Within half an hour the objective was reached and captured.

The survivors began to dig in and wait for the counter attacks that they knew would soon be hurled at the depleted British companies. Reinforcements were also expected from the Hampshire battalion, who were to pass through the 4th Worcestershire and to continue the attack towards the secondary objectives.

The first of many furious German attacks came at around 10 a.m. and was resisted stubbornly. However, the expected relief failed to materialise, and the Worcestershires were on their own. Although the Worcestershire attack had succeeded, the attack by a neighbouring Division had failed, and the Worcestershire found themselves in a dangerous and isolated position. This was made worse by the casualties to the Hampshire battalion which suffered so badly that it was unable to provide any real assistance to the 4th Worcestershire.

Almost all the Worcestershire officers were casualties, and the battalion suffered severe losses during the initial attack and throughout the long day of shelling and German counter attack. Eventually relief did arrive, but it was long after midnight before the Battalion was able to extricate itself and march back to Arras.

Although only two officers and 64 men marched back to Arras, the Battalion War Diary records that the Battalion suffered 8 officers and 34 other ranks killed, 3 officers and 325 other ranks wounded and 1 officer and 53 other ranks missing. Most if not all of the missing were later listed as presumed killed in action on this date. Research shows that 106 men were killed on that date or died of wounds later, amazingly the Battalion was back in action within days.

George Bagley was killed in action on April 23rd 1917, the first day of the Second Battle of the Scarpe. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial.

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