Private George KIRKHAM
 

Regiment/Service:
Worcestershire Regiment
(Formerly: South Staffordshire Regiment)
Unit:
10th Battalion
Service Number:
39994
(Formerly: 5158 South Staffordshire Regiment)
Date of Death:
22 March 1918 - Killed in Action
Age:
19
Cemetery / Memorial:
Memorial Reference:
Bay 6



Personal History:


George was born in the December quarter 1898, the son of William (Tanner's Labourer) and Jessie Mary (née Brown) Kirkham of 20 Norfolk Street, Runcorn, Cheshire. He had an older sister, Lillie, and five younger siblings, Jessie, Elsie, William, Leonard and James. (1901 Census RG 13/3334 and 1911 Census RG 14/216263)

The link with Buxton has not been established, although the fact that he enrolled into the South Staffordshire Regiment in Buxton suggests that George moved there after 1911, although his SDGW record states he was living in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire.

Military History:
George initially enlisted in the South Staffordshire Regiment at Buxton. His Medal Index Card shows that he entered the War in France after 1915, as he was not eligible for the 1914/15 Star Medal. His Service papers have not survived and without them it is not possible to say what his War service postings were.

Bearing in mind his age when he died - just 19 - George could not have been in France more than a few months. The 10th (Service) Battalion had been formed at Worcester in September 1914 as part of K2 (Kitchener's Second New Army) and came under orders of 57th Brigade in 19th (Western) Division. They initially landed in France the 18th July 1915, so clearly George would have joined as a replacement or reinforcement, possibly after the Division's losses at The Battles of the Lys, 9th - 29th April 1918.

During The Battle of St Quentin (a phase of the First Battles of the Somme 1918) - 21st - 23rd March 1918 - George's 19th (Western) Division was in action in response to 'Kaiserschlacht' -  the German Spring Offensive which commence on the 21st March. At some time during the fighting George was killed in action 94 men of the 10th Battalion were killed 20 - 23 March.

George has no known grave and is now commemorated on the Arras Memorial, along with 76 of his comrades killed during the Battle.

                                  

Footnote:
· Pt. Vivian BIGGIN - of the 3rd Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment, was also killed on the same day as George


Commemorated on:

Link to CWGC Record
The Arras Memorial
George's name on the Memorial
poppy
.... The 10th Battalion