George Warren was born at Thakeham, Sussex on 17 June 1888. Although clearly listed on George’s birth certificate as Emery, we believe his father could also have been known as Henry (1891 Census, Petworth).
His parents were Emery and Elizabeth Kate Warren (née Barnes). Elizabeth was Emery’s second wife and much younger than him.
George was the third son of seven children: Henry, James, George, William, Mary Dorothy ‘Dolly’, Bertha and John.
In the 1911 census the three youngest children and their parents are recorded at the Basingstoke Union Workhouse at Old Basing. This had a detached infirmary and it is not known whether the family were there as a result of poverty or poor health.
Emery (Henry) and Elizabeth arrived in Tadley sometime after 1911. Communications sent to Emery following George’s death in 1918 were addressed to Barn Close Laundry, located in Church Road. In later years Elizabeth and Dorothy manned the first Tadley telephone exchange in a cottage near ‘The Cricketers’ in Heath End Road. It opened in March 1923. The cottage is known as ‘Exchange Cotttage’.
George was unmarried.
George joined the Hampshire Regiment in January 1908 (service number 8048). By 1911 he was serving with the 2nd Battalion in Mauritius. Later, the battalion moved to India and was still there in 1914, When World War I started the battalion returned to the United Kingdom and joined the 29th Division.
On 25 April 1915, George took part in the Gallipoli Landings. The 29th Division formed part of the initial landing force. The Hampshire Regiment Journal records that he was wounded in the left ear by shrapnel on 2 May 1915 and on 6 June 1915 was wounded in the right arm. The later injury may have required an evacuation from the peninsula. After Gallipoli, the 29th Division (including the 2nd Battalion) went to France (arriving in March 1916) and went on to fight in the Somme offensive.
At some point, George Warren transferred from the 2nd to 15th Battalion but it is not known when this occurred. He is not mentioned in the records again until he won the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) in 1918 while serving with the 15th Battalion.
The 15th Battalion was raised in Portsmouth as a service battalion of the Hampshire Regiment. It joined 41st Division and arrived in France in May 1916. Its first major action was Flers in September 1916 (as part of the Somme offensive).
George was awarded the DCM for an action on 5 August 1917. He was a sergeant at the time. The citation describes his part in the defence of Hollebeke village which the Germans were trying to recapture.
George, now an acting company sergeant major, was awarded the DCM a second time for an action on 24 March 1917. The Germans launched a huge offensive on 21 March. On the 23 March, the 15th Battalion were ordered to fill a gap in the line south-east of the village of Mory (about 18 km south of Arras). The battalion held the line despite being heavily engaged until they were ordered to retire on the afternoon of 24 March. The citation describes Sergeant Warren’s part in this action. The DCM was gazetted on 22 October 1917. The citation was published in the London Gazette on 26 January 1918. The bar to the DCM was gazetted on 3 September 1918 (including the citation).
George was killed in action on 4 September 1918. On that day the 15th Battalion attacked the Germans east of Vierstraat, about 7 km south of Ypres. The battalion was met with heavy artillery and machine gun fire. British artillery supporting the attack was inaccurate and failed to destroy a number of German machine gun posts. Casualties were heavy – 8 officers and about 90 other ranks were killed or missing. Company Sergeant Major Warren had been looking out of a shell hole when he was struck in the heart and killed instantaneously.
George was killed in action on Wednesday 4 September 1918, aged 30,
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.
He is commemorated at Voormezeele Enclosure No 3 [XV H 15], Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. George was originally buried in a battlefield cemetery, but on 16 March 1920 the Imperial War Graves Commission (as the Commonwealth War Graves Commission was named then) wrote to say that his body had been moved to Voormezeele Enclosure No. 3 Cemetery.
He is also remembered on Tadley and Baughurst War Memorials.
George was awarded the Victory medal, the British War medal and 1914-15 Star. George was also awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) and Bar. These would have been sent to his family.