Rifleman George Edward BLINCO


Regiment/Service:
Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort's Own)
(Formerly: King's Royal Rifle Corps)
Unit:
9th Battalion
(Formerly: 10th Battalion, King's Royal Rifle Corps)
Service Number:
B/203086
(Formerly: R/17118 K.R.R.C.)
Date of Death:
19 April 1918 [Probably: killed in action 4th April 1918]
Age:
23
Cemetery / Memorial:
Grave Reference:
IV. D. 6.

Personal History:
George was born in the December quarter 1895, the son of William (Mason Labourer) and Sarah Maria (née Mellor) Blinco of Radcliffe Place, Fairfield Road. Buxton.  (1901 Census RG 13/3269) 
George had two elder siblings, Lottie and John William, and two younger, Mary Ellen and Emily May. In 1911 (Census RG 14/21240) the family had moved to Balboro Cottages, Spring Gardens, Buxton, and another younger brother, James Arthur, had been added. Unfortunately, Emily had died in the June quarter 1902, aged 2. George was now working as an "Errand Boy".

Military History:
George enlisted into the King's Royal Rifle Corps at Buxton, probably in November 1915, but unfortunately his Service Papers have not survived, nor does his Medal Index Card show when he first entered the War, which confirms it was after 1915 as he was not eligible for the "1915 Star" Medal.

Bearing in mind that George was only 19 when the War began and that he did not enter France until 1916, it is likely that he initially joined one of new Service Battalions of the King's Royal Rifle Corps, was formed in August 1914 as part of Kitchener's First New Army (K1) and attached to 42nd Brigade in 14th (Light) Division. After training at Aldershot and Petworth, they landed at Boulogne in the Summer of 1915, but clearly George was not in that initial contingent.

The 9th Battalion, The Rifle Brigade follows an almost identical formation and training schedule and also landed at Boulogne in May 1915. Without his Service Papers it is impossible to speculate when he would have transferred between Battalions, but his actions would have been much the same whenever it was, being part of the same Brigade and Division.

The 42nd Brigade saw action in 1916 at The Battle of Delville Wood (15th July - 3rd September) and The Battle of Flers-Courcelette (15th - 22nd September), phases of the Battles of the Somme, and in 1917 at The First and Third Battles of the Scarpe (9th - 14th April and 3rd - 4th May) which were phases of the Arras Offensive. Also, The Battle of Langemark (16th - 18th August) and The First and Second Battles of Passchendaele (12th October and 26th October - 10th November), phases of the Third Battles of Ypres.

George's first posting to France, however, was in March 1916 and was wounded serving with the 10th Battalion, King's Royal Rifle Corps, before his transfer to the Rifle Brigade. He only had one period of leave, in November 1917, by which time he had been wounded three times as well as being gassed

The next year - 1918 - during First Battles of the Somme, they fought at The Battle of St Quentin (21st - 23rd March) during the German Spring Offensive, and The Battle of the Avre on the 4th April 1918. In this Battle the Germans made advances on Amiens and Villers-Brettoneaux, near Amiens.

The Battalion War Diary reads:

"The next day, April 3rd, the Brigade moved into the line again. The Battalion marched into Hamelet, and the line ran in front of that village. The 41st and 42nd Brigades were to take over the line itself, whilst the 43rd Brigade remained in reserve. Of the 42nd Brigade, the Oxford and Bucks L.I. were to hold the line from Hamel east to Bois de Vaire, with the 41st Brigade on their right, the 9th Rifle Brigade on their left, and the 9th K.R.R. in support. Both the Oxford and Bucks L.I. and the Rifle Brigade were largely made up of drafts from the 13th Entrenching Battalion."

The following day: " ... the 5th Ox & Bucks LI were in the front line ahead with the 9th Rifle Brigade on their left. The whole Brigade came under sustained German artillery bombardment. At about 9 a.m. the 41st Brigade to the right began to retire in confusion. Cavalry was sent forward to try to stop the gap there. Later the 5/OBLI retired through the 9/KRRC and established a new line behind them on the crest of the ridge in front of Vaire."

In their last two actions the Division suffered massive casualties, losing almost 6,000 troops, so much so that it was withdrawn from the line and placed on the construction of a new defensive line in the rear.

The CWGC record does not specify a cause of George's death on the 19th April 1918, however, the 'Soldiers Died' database gives the cause as 'killed in action'. It later transpired that although George was posted as "missing" since the 4th April by his Battalion, it was from German sources that his body had been found and buried on the 19th, some two weeks after he died - hence his burial in a Cemetery [Villers-Brettonneux] which was behind eneny lines at the time.

Sources:
· Extracts from the War Diary of the 9th Battalion, King's Royal Rifle Corps.

Commemorated on:
Link to CWGC Record
Rifleman Blinco's Grave
poppy