Private 9031 George Wheatley

Wheatley George 96 426x600

Killed in Action on Saturday, 1st July 1916, age 25.
Buried in Grave VI. D. 9. at Dantzig Alley British Cemetery, Mametz, Somme, France.

1st Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 91st Brigade of 7th Division.

Husband of Emily Wheatley, of 19, Cophall Street, Great Bridge, Tipton, Staffs. Native of Great Bridge.
Born: Hill Top, Enlisted: Wednesbury, Resident: Hill Top.

First landed France & Flanders, 2nd February 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the St. Peter's, Greets Green Memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on Commonwealth War Graves site.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/548549/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
83 New Street, West Bromwich, Staffs.
George Wheatley (48, Labourer Tube Works, born West Bromwich), his wife Alice (46, born West Bromwich), and their 2 children: John (18, Welder, born West Bromwich), and George W. (9, born West Bromwich).

1911 Census
83 New Street, Hill Top, West Bromwich, Staffs.
George Wheatley (59, Labourer Tube Works, born Hill Top), his wife Alice (54, born Hill Top), and 1 of their 5 children: George (19, Tube Drawer, born Hill Top), and their adopted son William Timmins (2, born Hill Top).

Marriage of George W Wheatley and Emily Parkes registered March quarter 1912 at West Bromwich.

Personal Data

Commonwealth War Graves records Great Bridge, Tipton. The address actually looks to be Great Bridge, West Bromwich, but treat as Tipton.

Action resulting in his death

The 1st South Staffs, as part of 7th Division, attacked the village of Mametz. This was well to the south of the Somme battlefield where the attack achieved many of the objectives. The initial attack at 7.30am captured most of Mametz, but was forced to a halt by mid-morning by German resistance. By early afternoon, the attack was carried forward again with a German garrison of around 200 surrendering. By 7.30pm, all the Staffords objectives had been achieved.

The 1st South Staffs had 4 officers and 82 men killed on the day, with more dying of wounds of subsequent days. Of these 82 men, 5 were from Tipton: James Butcher, Luke Gwilliams, Dan Turner, George Wheatley and John Wilkinson. James Butcher and George Wheatley are buried in Dantzig Alley Cemetery, the other three have no known grave and are commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme. Another man, John Akins, was wounded in action and died on 2nd July.

War Diary for 1st South Staffs
1st July 1916: MAMETZ
7.30 am:
Attack launched. The attack was pushed forward very successfully and with very few casualties until the whole Battalion was in MAMETZ, where a large number of Germans were encountered. At 9.08 am a message was received from O.C. 'D' company stating the Battalion was held-up on South side of MAMETZ and required reinforcements, the enemy being in strong numbers in the village. A Company of the 21st Manchester Regiment was sent to our support and at 11.20 am we received a message stating that we had advanced to the North East corner of the village and were consolidating. We also held BRIGHT ALLEY with a small force.
The position of Companies was:- 'C' Company on the Right, making a strong point, 'D' Company in DANZIG ALLEY making a strong point with two Stokes Guns. 'B' Company on the Left Front.
2.00 pm:
Battalion had gained and was consolidating the whole of its objective with the exception of BUNNY ALLEY.
3.10 pm:
Battalion had to withdraw in line with the church as FRITZ TRENCH had not been captured.
5.30 pm:
Battalion Headquarters moved up into MAMETZ and on reaching the village found that the Battalion's final objective had not been captured. Major Morris, with great skill, at once reorganised all the troops in the village and allotted each a task. The final objectives were taken and held at about 7.40 pm.

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