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George Edward Partridge was born on the 4th March 1889 at Lisburn in County Antrim to Edward and Annie Partridge. George`s father was also from County Antrim but his mother had been born in Nova Scotia. Where they married is unknown but later information suggests it took place in about 1885 and that they had eleven children, five of whom survived; Elizabeth (c.1888), George Edward (1889)*, Sarah (1896) and Annie (1900) were all born in Lisburn and then by 1901 they had moved across the water to live in Barrow in Furness. Edward Partridge had secured a job as a driller in the shipyard in Barrow and in 1901 the family was living at 21 Latona Street. Twelve months later George`s youngest sibling William Thomas was born in Barrow.

By 1911 the family had left Barrow and had headed south to Coventry and were living at 67 Spon End. The family now consisted of; parents, Edward and Annie, George, Annie and William Thomas and also William Henry Partridge aged 89 years who appears to be George`s paternal Grandfather. George, like his father, was now employed as a machine driller.

At some point after the 1911 Census and prior to the outbreak of war, George moved back north to live in Preston where he went to work as a driller at the Leyland Motor Works. After the outbreak of war George left his employment and enlisted into the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment sometime in August 1914. He was issued with the service number 13968 and posted to the 7th Battalion. His home address at the time of his enlistment was in Ripon Street in Preston.

George embarked for France with the main body of the 7th Battalion on the 17th July 1915, the Battalion coming under the Command of 56th Brigade in 19th (Western) Division. During George`s first eighteen months with the Battalion he would have been involved in the Battalion`s actions at Ypres, Loos and then on to the Somme in 1916 at Albert, Bazentin, Ancre Heights and Ancre (13th – 18th November 1916). It was during the latter battle that George, for his gallantry, was later awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.

Extract from the Battalion War Diary

AVELUY

11th November 1916: Parades 9.30 till 12 noon. Fatigue parties of 120. 7p.m. – Operation orders for attack received. Three more military medals given to the Battalion.

12th November 1916: Conference of OCs. Cdmg. Coys for attack. Orders issued verbally by C.O. Church Parade 10.30a.m. Companies moved off to the trenches at 3p.m. Relief completed by 7.30p.m.

13th November 1916: “A” Coy took over the front line. Other Coys. assembled in and near BAINBRIDGE. Had hot Oxo at 1a.m. and then moved forward in front of STUFF TRENCH. Remained there till zero 5.45a.m. when all three coys. advanced in two waves. “A” Coy remained to hold STUFF TRENCH.

Whole attack went well and objective gained in 10 minutes thanks to the able leading of Captain H.C. Bennett and the way in which the men kept close to the artillery barrage. Very thick mist all day – which helped the attack. The enemy were taken by surprise and large numbers of prisoners, between 100 and 200 men, were captured by the Battalion. Our own casualties were slight – about 5 Officers and 81 other ranks. Prisoners of about 5 different Regiments were taken, 72, 91. 144 and 167th.

Owing to the mist, Companies had got very much mixed up and in all cases had overrun the objective. Patrols had gone forward to the river ANCRE. New line consolidated throughout the day from R.20.a.8.8. to R.14.c.o.1. In touch with 7/E.Lan.R. on right and 1/Herts on left.

George`s Distinguished Conduct Medal citation reads;

He continued to serve with the 7th Battalion into 1917 and then in June of that year he wrote to his sister, who at the time was a resident of River Street in Preston, George informed her that he had recently been wounded and was now in hospital in England:

He was still in Preston in October 1917 because on the 25th of that month he was presented with his Distinguished Conduct Medal by the town`s Mayor, Alderman Cartmell, the ceremony taking place during the interval of a charity concert at the Guild Hall. The Lancashire Evening Post newspaper reported on the events;

MAYOR PRESENTS D.C.M. TO SERGEANT G.E. PARTRIDGE

“Last night, at an interval in the song lecture in aid of the Hostel for Disabled Sailors and Soldiers, which was given in the Guild Hall, the Mayor (Alderman Cartmell) presented the Distinguished Conduct Medal to Sergeant G.E. Partridge, of the Preston `Pals`.

His Worship said that by though virtue of his office he had had the honour of making several presentations of medals he had never had greater satisfaction in performing the duty than in that moment, for Sergeant Partridge was a member of the Preston `Pals`. (Applause). They would know what that meant to him. He had somewhat lively recollections of the formation of that Company in the next room to the one in which they were assembled when some 250 young fellows registered before him within three days. Finer fellows never went out of Preston. He had heard a little from Sergeant Partridge of what they had done. They had been kept particularly busy. There were formerly 250 of them. There was still a B Company, but only a very small part of B Company consisted of Preston `Pals` – perhaps it was not wise to say how many – and it was not by reason of casualties simply that their number was as small as they were. He was prepared to think that quite a large number had received commissions and had been otherwise provided for, and that was not the only medal that had been gained, though it was the only one they had had the satisfaction of giving at home.

The Mayor read the record of the deed that had led to the award of the D.C.M. This set forth that Sergeant Partridge, on November 13th 1916, during the whole attack had led his men with dash and bravery, never hesitating to expose himself, when by doing so he could encourage his men. He led the way down the dugouts occupied by the enemy, and was responsible for the capture of several prisoners. When the new line was captured he showed great coolness in patrolling the country in front in broad daylight though exposed to heavy fire.

Finally the Mayor pinned on the medal, cordially shook hands with the recipient, and at his Worship`s call the audience gave three hearty cheers for the gallant soldier”.

(N.B. The Preston “Pals” was actually “D” Company and so the newspaper reference to “B” Company is probably an error).

The 7th Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment was disbanded in France in February 1918 and as George`s service papers do not appear to be available it is impossible to say whether he went overseas again before that happened. He was however in England in the Autumn of 1918 because he married Emily Louisa Bartlett in Suffolk, the marriage registered in the District of Woodbridge in September 1918.

George`s Medal Index Card and the Medal Rolls both confirm that at some point he was posted to the King`s (Liverpool) Regiment with the new service number of 116714 and that he was still “effective” after the war, how long for is unknown. As well as his Distinguished Conduct Medal George also received the 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals in recognition of his service for King and Country.

The couple eventually returned to live in Preston and in 1939 George and Emily were living at 12 Cobden Street, the record (redacted) indicates that one child was also living in the household. George`s occupation is shown as a `radial driller and borer`. He was also helping out with the war effort and is shown as an A.R.P. Warden (Head).

George, aged 60 years, passed away in Preston in 1950, his death registered in the June quarter of that year. Emily survived him by 21 years, her death was registered in 1971.

Author`s Note;

On a personal note, my mother was also living in Cobden Street in Preston in 1939, she was 10 years old at the time. When I enquired as to whether she knew George and his wife, she thought for a while before recalling that they lived directly across the road and they had one daughter, and she also remembered that Mr. Partridge had a parrot, and of course, the said parrot was named `Polly`.

 

Janet Davis

Janet Davis

Janet Davis has been researching her family history for many years and through this she discovered many relatives who served in WW1. This interest then led Janet to do many walking the battlefield tours with her husband. In April 2013 she discovered this website and volunteered to help. Janet believes that there are lots of stories still to be told, most of them very sad but at the same time they are a fascinating insight into the men, their families, what they did and where they came from.
Janet Davis

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