George Garrett was born on 21 August 1898 at Crookham, Berkshire.
His parents were Thomas and Elizabeth Garrett (née Pearce). Thomas was a ‘Farm Labourer’.
He was the youngest of six children, one of whom died in childhood: Daisy, Eliza, William, Stephen Thomas, Rose Ellen and George.
In the 1901 Thatcham Census he was aged 2 years and living at Thornford in the parish of Thatcham. This is the area bordering Greenham and Crookham Commons. His father was listed as an ‘Agricultural Labourer and Cow Keeper’.
In the 1911 Census, aged 12 years, his address was given as ‘The Traveller’s Friend Inn’, Crookham, where his father is listed as both ‘Farmer and Publican’ and George as a ‘Scholar’.
It could be assumed that the family later moved to Coombe House Farm, Tadley, from where George’s sister, Rose Ellen, was married in December 1917.
At the time of George’s death his parents were living at Model Farm, Overton.
George was unmarried.
George’s service record has been difficult to establish. He enlisted in Basingstoke and served as a private in the 15th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment (service number 54944). The 15th Battalion was raised in Portsmouth on 5 April 1915. After initial training the battalion joined the 122nd Brigade, 41st Division in Aldershot in October before proceeding to France in early May 1916. The division was stationed between Hazebrouck and Bailleul and was in action on the Somme.
On 27 September 1917 the 15th Battalion amalgamated with the 1/1st Hampshire Yeomanry and was renamed the 15th (Hampshire Yeomanry) Battalion.
In November 1917 the 41st Division was ordered to Italy, but was summoned back to the Western Front in February 1918 and was in action countering the German Spring Offensive (Operation Michael), before moving to Flanders for the Battles of the Lys (7-29 April). It was in action again during the Hundred Days Offensive at the end of the war.
The Battle of Courtrai (14-19 October 1918) was one of a series of offensives in northern France and southern Belgium that took place during the Hundred Days Offensive. The 15th Hampshire Battalion was in action when the Flanders offensive resumed on 14 October, the day George was killed. The offensive began at 5:35 am and the battalion, as part of the 41st Division, sought to reach the River Lys as far downstream as Courtrai, covering the Belgian and French push eastwards towards Ghent. It advanced quickly, taking advantage of the early morning mist to work round and neutralise many troublesome enemy pill boxes and other strong points in the untaken portions of the Gheluwe Switch and the Terhand Line further north, achieving all its objectives and advancing more than three miles.
George was killed in action on the Western Front on Monday 14 October 1918, aged 20. This was the same day as Private Alfred Rampton was killed.
He is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial [Panel 88 to 90 and 162], Belgium.
He is also remembered on Tadley War Memorial.
Of the men remembered on Tadley War Memorial, George Garrett, Herbert Golding, William Monger, Alfred Rampton, Leonard Rampton, Ernest Sandford, Louis Stacey, Tom Taylor and George Warren all served with the Hampshire Regiment.
George was awarded the Victory medal and the British War medal. These would have been sent to his family.