MURRELL, George Frederick

No.202082, Sergeant, George MURRELL
Aged 25

2nd/6th Battalion, North Staffordshire (Prince of Wales')Regiment
Killed in Action presumed on Thursday, 21st March 1918

George Frederick Murrell was born in Fornham All Saints on 4th October 1892 (Thingoe Q4-1892 4A:692), baptised in All Saints on 21st May 1893, son of Charles and Ellen MURRELL (née FOREMAN).

1901 census...Aged 9, he was at 4 The Coalyards, Fornham All Saints with his father Charles MURRELL [42] maltster's labourer; mother Ellen [38] born West Stow; brothers William Charles [14] (farm labourer), Edward George [11] and Bertie Frederick [2]; sister Lily [6]. All except his smother were born in Fornham All Saints.

1911 census...Aged 18, single, a domestic gardener, he was with his parents in Fornham All Saints with brothers Edward George (market gardener's labourer), Bertie Frederick and Reginald Gilbert [8] born Forham All Saints. One of the eight siblings had died.

His brother Edward George was killed in Palestine (now Israel) in December 1917. click here

He enlisted in Bury St.Edmunds, initially in 1st/5th battalion.
It was the 1st day of the German Spring Offensive, the Kaiserschlacht, their last ditch attempt to win the war. Initially very successful, forcing the Allies in the Somme back many miles. This reverting to a mobile war had it's negative effect on the Germans eventually as they overstretched their supply train and also could not replace their casualties. The reverse was the case with the Allies, bolstered by the arrival of increasing numbers of American troops. War diaries at this time were often long winded, but mainly tales of retreat, or they were very scant as the officers responsible had better things to occupy themselves with, such as re-organising their men and simply staying alive.

The war diary of the 2nd/6th North Staffs was no exception:-
Bullecourt - 19th - 19:00 The battalion relieved the 2/5 Bat, Lincoln Regiment in the Bullecourt sector. Relief completed by 9 pm
no entry for 20th
21st - 05:00 Enemy opened exceptionally heavy barrage on the front, support and reserve lines with shells of every calibre. The enemy attacked in large numbers and broke through on the right flank of the Battalion and reached the HOGS BACK, completely cutting off the battalion. Casualties- killed Lieut Col TBH THORNE, other ranks 3. Wounded - Officers Capt PE FOLEY, other ranks 8; missing 22 officers and 586 men.
2/Lieut AE STEARN and 2/Lieut S BURTON-SMITH collected a party of men from transport lines and reported to Major HMC CURTIS DSO 2/6 South Staffs Regt who formed a composite battalion. This battalion held the line at MORY EAST.
Capt DCB COTES assumed command of the battalion
COURCELLES le COMTE - 18:40 Q.M.Stores, details and transport lines moved by march route to COURCELLES le COMTE.

CWGC have recorded 110 of the 2nd/6th North Staffs killed, only 13 with identified graves. Total killed in the whole regiment that day was 295

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

George Murrell is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, Faubourg d'Amiens, bays 7 and 8

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