Private 16339 George Henry Powell

Killed in Action on Sunday, 6th August 1916, age unknown.
Commemorated on Pier and Face 7 B of Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.

2nd Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 6th Brigade of 2nd Division.

Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Birmingham, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 25th May 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library, and St. Mark's memorials.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1549044/

Genealogical Data

It is not possible to positively identify George Powell on the 1901 or 1911 Census as there are a number of options, and nothing to give certainty.

Personal Data

After George's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £0/7/7d (7 shillings and 7 pence); this was paid to his mother and sole legatee, Caroline, in December 1916. His War Gratuity was £7/0/0d (7 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his mother in September 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that George had enlisted in approximately January 1915.

Action resulting in his death

The very fine book "When the Whistle Blows" by Riddock and Kemp on the 17th Middlesex (1st Sportsman Battalion) provides the following outline.
2nd Division (which included 2nd South Staffs) had left Delville Wood around 2nd August 1916 after a very trying time in the line. Brigadier General Arthur Daly (honestly!) the 6th Brigade Commanding Officer, had told 2nd Division HQ that his Brigade was severely weakened as a fighting force from their time in Delville Wood, but would be willing to do their duty if ordered to do so.

Daly's pleas fell on deaf ears. 2nd Division was ordered to take the village of Guillemont on 8th August and 6th Brigade was to attack north of the village at Waterlot Farm. Guillemont is less than a mile south of Delville Wood.

2nd South Staffs was in reserve in trenches in Trones Wood and Bernafay Wood, but 'A' Company was placed at the disposal of 1st Kings (Liverpool), and 'B' Company at the disposal of 17th Middlesex (the 1st Footballer's Battalion).

During the evening of 5th August, the 17th Middlesex took over the front line opposite Waterlot Farm. On the next day, the 6th, they were subject to heavy shelling throughout the day, 7 Middlesex men were killed.

It is possible that Private Powell was with the 17th Middlesex on that day, but also possible he was with the 1st King's (Liverpool), or even in reserve in Trones Wood or Bernafay Wood. Regardless, his death on the 6th August was most likely to shellfire. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald 16th September 1916
In the Casualty List, the names of those "killed" include Private S.W. Langston, Private G.H. Powell and Private W. Smith; all of Tipton and belonging to the South Staffs Regiment. Also amongst those killed is Private E .Cox of the Highland Light Infantry.