George William Fletcher


Submitted by Ian Cooper.

George was Ian's 1st cousin 4x removed

George was a sapper (equivalent of infantry private) with 1st (East Riding) Field Company, Royal Engineers, which was renamed 529th Field Company in February 1917. His service number was T1126, and this was also changed in February 1917, to 474642. The company was attached to British 3rd Division from September 1915.

During George W. Fletcher's period of service, 529th Field Company was involved in the following engagements:

Battle of the Somme

Durin g the battle the field engineers were engaged in assisting the infantry to negotiate obstacles, improving the lines of communication immediately behind the front line so that reserves could move forward, and ensuring that water was available to the frontline troops.

1 - 13 July 1916: Battle of Albert.

14 - 17 July 1916: Bazentin.

15 July - 3 September 1916: Delville Wood.

Battle of the Ancre

13 - 18 November 1916: Ancre.

Battle of Arras

During the battle of Arras the field engineers were engaged in constructing strong points, bridging old British trenches, laying mule tracks, removing booby-traps, sign-boarding captured German trenches, and using hand grenades to assault and clear German trenches.

9 - 14 April 1917: 1st Scarpe.

23 - 24 April 1917: 2nd Scarpe.

28 - 29 April 1917: Arleux.

3 - 4 May 1917: 3rd Scarpe.

Surprise Attack at Infantry Hill

On 14 June 1917, 529th Field Company was tasked with supporting a surprise attack by 1/Gordon Highlanders and 2/Suffolks at a small mound called Infantry Hill, a mile east of Monchy-Le-Preux. The attack began at 7:20am. By WW1 standards the attack was very successful and by 9:45 all objectives were taken, along with 175 German prisoners. After the objectives were secured, the Royal Engineers were called forward to reconstruct a derelict trench between the old British front line and the newly captured part of the German trench system. At about 5:40pm the Germans launched a heavy barrage as a precursor to a counter attack. At some point, perhaps during the German barrage or during the abortive German counter attack that followed, George William Fletcher was killed. George has no known grave; his name is listed on Bay 1 of the Arras Memorial to the missing.



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