Private 16580 George Humphries

Humphries George 96 432x600

Killed in Action on Saturday, 12th December 1914, age 20.
Commemorated on Addenda Panel of Ploegsteert Memorial, Comines-Warneton, Hainaut, Belgium.

1st Bn, Grenadier Guards. 20th Battalion. 7th Division.

Son of John and Mary Jane Humphries, of 112, Wood End, Wednesfield.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Unknown, Resident: Unknown.

First landed France & Flanders, 6th October 1914.
Medal entitlement: 1914 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Not commemorated on any Tipton 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/7531571/

Genealogical Data

Birth of George Humphries registered December quarter 1894 at Dudley.
Baptism of George Humphries on 3rd December 1894 at St. John's Church, Upper Church Lane, Tipton.

1901 Census
Deanes Road, Heath Town, Wolverhampton.
John Humphries (44, Coal Hewer, born Moseley Village, Wolverhampton), his wife Mary J. (42, born Moseley Village, Wolverhampton), and their 7 children: Violet (15, Domestic Servant, born Moseley Village, Wolverhampton), John (14, Latch Maker (Iron), born Moseley Village, Wolverhampton), Samuel (8, born Tipton), William (7, born Tipton), George (6, born Tipton), Leonard (4, born Heath Town, Wolverhampton), and Sydney (3, born Heath Town, Wolverhampton).

1911 Census
George was living as a Boarder with his sister, brother-in-law and their family.
45 Leslie Rd, Heath Town, Wolverhampton.
Harry Machin (28, Shingler at Iron Works, born Wolverhampton), his wife Violet (26, born Wolverhampton), and their 2 children: Thomas (5, born Wolverhampton), and Violet (3, born Wolverhampton).
Also George Humphries (17, Boarder, Butcher, born Tipton).

Personal Data

The Humphries were a Wolverhampton family, but lived in Tipton for about 5 years in the period 1893 to 1896. During this period an additional 3 children were added to the Humphries family, including George born in late 1894. Despite spending just a few years in Tipton, it was here George was born and baptised, and he is therefore a man of Tipton.

George's 'Soldiers Effects' entry shows that he enlisted with the Grenadier Guards on 11th July 1913, and he is recorded as being a butcher by trade. In February 1915 George's father, John, received his late son's outstanding army pay and allowances amounting to £5/2/7d (5 pounds, 2 shillings and 7 pence); in May 1919 he also received George's War Gratuity amounting to £5/0/0d (5 pounds).

Action resulting in his death

George landed in Zeebrugge on 6th October 1914, the day that the 1st Grenadier Guards first landed on the Continent. They were intended to take part in the defence of Antwerp but their arrival was too late, so moved eastwards to play a great part in the 1st Battle of Ypres. The 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards were part of 7th Division which became known as 'The Immortal Seventh' after 1st Ypres.

By mid-November 1914 the 1st Grenadier Guards had already had 200 men killed and at least twice that number wounded. They were withdrawn from the Salient to take up a quieter position near Fleurbaix. Throughout November and December they remained in the same line of trenches. At first there was a great deal of rain, but towards the end of November it changed to snow and was bitterly cold. The weather all the month of December was very bad, and it was with difficulty that the trenches were kept from falling in.

The Battalion was constantly engaged in maintenance of the trenches, but the water-logged condition of the ground, combined with the vigilance of the German snipers, made the work difficult. The bombing and sniping continued daily, and were accompanied occasionally by high-explosive shells.

No major actions took place in this section at that time, so it is likely that George was killed during the daily routine of German harassment of the British, reciprocated naturally. It is likely that George was killed by a sniper's bullet, as the German artillery was normally aimed towards higher value targets such as British artillery, and senior officer locations. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial.

Newspaper Cuttings