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Captain, Royal Army Medical Corps, 2nd/1st (West Lancs) Field Ambulance

Died 14th August 1916, age 38.

Buried in Dive Copse British Cemetery, France.

Former student of medicine.

hitchin-uni-mag


 

George was born on 30th December 1878, the son of Robert, a chemist, and Dora Hitchin of Burnley,  Lancashire. He attended Burnley Grammar School and later Ellesmere College in Shropshire before entering Manchester University to study Medicine in 1887. He qualified in M.B and Ch.B in 1903. Thereafter he joined the Merchant Navy and held a number of posts as Ships Surgeon on steamships on the Far East and South American roots before leaving to become an Assistant Surgeon in Whalley.

When the 1st World War broke out George was in practice as a Physician and Surgeon in Tottington near Bury in Lancashire and on 22nd November 1914 he joined the 1/2nd East Lancashire Field Ambulance Royal Army Medical Corps (R.A.M.C.), a territorial unit, with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant.  He trained at Southport, Crowborough and Colchester and for a short time was the Senior Medical Officer of an artillery unit at Forest Row. He was promoted to Captain in May 1915 and transferred to the 2/1st West Lancashire Field Ambulance R.A.M.C. , another Territorial unit, serving in France with the 55th (West Lancashire) Division. In June 1916 he spent some time a a base hospital near Rouen before going up to the front with the Division which was heavily engaged in the Battle of the Somme.

On 14th August 1916 George was tending to wounded in a front line trench when he was struck and killed. Well-liked and respected by both his superiors and his men, one wrote home after his death:  “How much we have lost we cannot estimate. His life to us is a peerless example of all that makes a soldier and a gentleman. His soldiery regularity, intrepid zeal, noble purpose, command our respect. Cool, calm collected, he took what occasion brought, smiled and made the best of it, inspiring confidence in all. To know him was a privilege, to be conversant with him an education, to follow him a pleasure, to obey him a sweet necessity.”

His medals were sold at auction for £200 by Dreweatts in 2008.