Corporal 16694 George Kirkham

Killed in Action on Sunday, 15th April 1917, age 20.
Commemorated on Pier and Face 3 C and 3 D of Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.

18th Bn., Lancashire Fusiliers. 104th Brigade of 35th Division.

Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Dudley, Resident: Unknown.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: 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/798577/

Genealogical Data

Birth of George Richard Kirkham registered March quarter 1897 in Dudley.

1901 Census
39 Waterloo Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Alfred Kirkham (30, Butcher, born Tipton), his wife Laura (26, born Droitwich), and their 3 children: Alfred James (5, born Sedgley), George Richard (4, born Sedgley), and Wilfred (2, born Sedgley).

1911 Census
3 Boscobel Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Alfred Kirkham (40, Journeyman Butcher, born Princes End, Tipton), his wife Laura (36, born Droitwich), and their 7 children: Alfred James (15, Driller, born Princes End, Tipton), George Richard (14, Moulder's Assistant born Princes End, Tipton), Wilfred (12, School, born Princes End, Tipton), Horace Reginald (9, School, born Tipton), Laura Beatrice (7, School, born Tipton), Albert Edward (4, born Tipton), and Lucy Mary (2, born Tipton).

Personal Data

The 18th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers was initially a Bantam Battalion for men less than the 5 foot 3 inch required for other infantry Battalions. By the end of 1916 the quality of Bantam replacements became sub-standard; in common with the other Bantam Battalions, replacements from then on were average conscripts. As George Kirkham died after 1916, it cannot be assumed that he was a Bantam by height.

Action resulting in his death

During April 1917, the 35th Division had moved to the St. Quentin area to the south-east of the Somme battlefield. On the 14th April, the 35th Division attacked and took the village of Gricourt, a few miles to the north west of St. Quentin. Two days later, on April 16th the 35th Division launched an assault on two trench systems between the villages of Pontruet and Gricourt.

It was during the above attacks near Gricourt that George Kirkham was killed, one of forty one men of the 18th Lancashire Fusiliers killed that day. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

Newspaper Cuttings

Birmingham Daily Post 26th December 1916
The following casualties amongst warrant officers, non-commissioned officers, and men are reported under various dates:
LANC. FUS.- Kirkham, 16694, Lce-Cpl., G., (Tipton).

Tipton Herald May 19th 1917
Cpl. G. Kirkham, Lancashire Fusiliers is officially reported killed in action.