ALDRICH,George Richard

2nd Lieutenant, George Richard ALDRICH
Aged 34

1st/23rd (County of London) Battalion, London Regiment
formerly 1st Surrey Rifles
formerly City of London Yeomanry
Killed in Action on Tuesday, 4th December 1917

George ALDRICH was born in Diss on 7th August 1882 (Depwade Q3-1882 4B:230), son of Frederick R and Ellen T ALDRICH (née LANGLEY).

His father (born 1839 in Diss, died in 1888 in Diss) was a Brush & Mat Manufacturer, (Messrs Aldrich Brothers, factory demolished in mid 1990's), employing 72 Men, 47 Boys, 49 Girls & Women.

1891 census...Aged 8 , he was at Roydon Road, Diss with his widowed mother Ellen Thurlow ALDRICH [43] living on own means; brother Collen F [18] born Diss; sister Alice S [10] also born in Diss; one servant. In 1881 there was 2 other sisters, Florence [18] and Blanche [8].

1901 census...Aged 18, he was an overlooker in a brush factory, living with his widowed mother Ellen T ALDRICH [53] and sister Alice J [20] and 2 servants at No. 6 Roydon Road, Diss. His brother Colin had joined the 4th Norfolk Volunteer Brigade, based in Diss, before joining the Army Service Corps in 1900 and serving in the Boer War, before being placed in the Reserves, but mobilised in August 1914 and commissioned in the 22nd Battalion, London Regiment.

1911 census...Aged 28, George was a bank cashier, boarding at 90-91 Guilford Street, St Pancras, London.

He married Gladys Wynne BLANCHFLOWER in Reading in 1917 (Reading Q2-1917 2C:733).

CWGC have his mother living in Brightlingsea, Essex.

He enlisted in London in the City of London Yeomanry (Rough Riders) No.2029 on 12th November 1912, giving his age as 30 years 3 months, a bank clerk, born in Diss, Norfolk. He was employed by the Capital and Counties Bank, 176 Upper Clapton Road, London N.E. He had previously 36.5" (83.8 to 92.7 cm). He was embodied as a trooper on 5th August 1914.
Posted to the Egypt Expeditionary Force on 10th April 1915, arriving on 7th May 1915 as a private when serving in the City of London Yeomanry (Rough Riders). This was then changed to serving in the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force on 14th August 1915. He sustained a shrapnel wound in his back and was taken to No.14 Casualty Clearing Station on 18th October 1915 and transferred to 19th General Hospital, Alexandria, Egypt on 16th November, by which time he was also suffering from jaundice. On 17th he was shipped via Hospital Ship "Lanfranc" to UK, where he arrived on 5th December 1915.

In April 1916 a Mrs Savile of 42 Guildford Street, London had written to the Army to try and find his address as she had lost his mother's address, She said she had last seen him when he was stationed at Bacton, Norfolk, expecting soon to be sent overseas.

One of his papers has his next of kin as Mrs E Aldrich, 42 Ranelagh Avenue, Barnes SW. but then it was changed to his wife, Mrs G.R.Aldrich of 2 Prices Avenue, Cliftonville, Margate, then she changed her address to "El Carmen" Birchington on Sea, Kent.

He was transferred on 14th June 1916 to a cadet Battalion, then in November to the (?) Oxford and then in February 1917 to the Reserve Cavalry Regiment, at Marlborough Barracks, Dublin, Ireland, from which he was discharged on 28th March 1917 on commissioning into the London Regiment.
One reference, from Major Pery, said he had served on East Coast Defence for 5 months, then in Egypt (Suez Canal Defence) near Suez for 4 months, subsequently in Gallipoli at Suvla Bay.
He was commissioned on 25th March 1917 in the 23rd (Reserve) Battalion, the London Regiment. His papers on commissioning confirmed his educated at the East Anglian School. He arrived in France on 15th July 1917 and joined his last unit, 1st/23rd Battalion, London Regiment on 28th July.
There was the usual battle between the Army pay department and his executors to sort out the estate without delay, including an application to apply the Death Duties (Killed in Action) Act of 1914 to his estate which was estimated to be between £1,000 and £1,500.

The battalion war diary has:-
Forward Area 57c C.N.E. 4th Dec Enemy showed considerable activity all day
3 pm Four 5.9 guns blown up by R.E. 6 pm Orders were received from 142nd Infantry Brigade to evacuate positions and withdraw to HUGHES SWITCH Area. All small arms ammunition, bombs etc from Battalion HQ and front line trenches to be collected and dumped on Cambrai-Bapaume road at 57c.E.24.c.5.4. to be salved. HQ moved back to HUGHES SWITCH at 11.45 pm. 2/Lt G.R.ALDRICH and 2 other ranks killed.

His executors were jointly, Lawrence Walter OLDFIELD and Bertie George PANKS and his address given as 42 Ranelagh Gardens, Barnes, Surrey

photo: Tony Pringle

No Known Grave. George Aldrich is commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial, Louverval, France - panel 12
also on the war memorial in Diss

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details