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Lieutenant, 6th Battalion Rifle Brigade, attached 1st Battalion, D.S.O.

Died of wounds 1st September 1918, age 33.

Buried at Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension, France.

Former student of languages.


 

George was born in 1885 at Pretoria, South Africa to Thomas and Marannah Glover. Educated at Leigh Grammar School he entered Manchester University in 1907, graduated with a BA in modern languages in 1911 and and MA in 1913. He went on to become a lecturer in German at Marburg University, Germany. At the outbreak of war he tried to join the army, at 5′ 2″ he was to short. In the autumn of 1914 he took up a post at Princeton University in the USA. To some of his new colleagues and students he was initially a quirky englishman “insignificant to look at and his insignificance was heightened by conspicuous shyness and an extremely gentle voice and manner… who always looked as if a fly were much more liable to hurt him than he a fly”, but he soon settled in and their fondness of him and his of them developed rapidly.

Restless about the situation in Europe when the height restrictions for joining the army were lowered in the summer of 1915 George returned to England to enlist. He wrote many letters to a Princeton colleague throughout his training and service. He was assigned to the Cambridge Officer Training Corps and after initial training posted to Bury St. Edmunds for 6 weeks advanced training. At the start of 1916 he found himself with the Rifle Brigade training with a replacement battalion on the Isle of Sheerness in the Thames learning all aspects of military skills: musketry, machine guns, bombs, bayonet, map reading and administrative work. In March 1916 he was sent to France and joined the 1st Battalion Rifle Brigade. In his letters he explained that little time was spent in the trenches themselves, but instead they were rotated in and out and far from the firing line they trained, marched, drilled and paraded. The trenches themselves were narrow, cramped, monotonous and “floored with ‘coudroy’, a tiring material to walk on, and I have a tendancy to slip off into a waiting mud puddle”. George found much interest in the countryside, the flora, the birds, the changing seasons around him and his love of springtime was a recurring theme of his letters.

For the large 1st July 1916 attack on the Somme George’s unit was assigned an objective on the Redan Ridge 6 miles north of Albert. For his actions on this day, the seemingly unassuming George was to be awarded a Distinguished Service Order. The citation read: “though twice wounded in the advance, continued to lead his men forward under heavy machine gun and artillery fire into the the enemy’s third line where he organised the defences. Although his left arm was useless he threw bombs as long as there was any supply. He set a splendid example all day.” Surrounded and outnumbered by the enemy for most of the day George was finally able to bring most of his company including the wounded members back to safety. He himself described the action: “Most of our casualties were in the first few minutes, myself amongst them. But such is the effect of imagination that, since I couldn’t see any hole in my tunic nor at first any blood, and since I got the two bullets absolutely simultaneously, I imagined that a shell had gone off somewhere and that two pieces had given me rather hard knocks, one of which had certainly bruised my shoulder. So after feeling sick for a second or two, I picked myself up and decided that I was still very much alive, and that it would be foolish to stop for that, so I proceeded. And, anyway, an officer doesn’t altogether need his arms provided he keeps his head. However that may be, I had the day of my life; and am not exactly hankering for another immediately, though I wouldn’t have missed it for anything. The noise was fearful. I found difficulty in making myself heard at a couple of yards part of the time. Once the tension was relaxed I slept like everything. The strange part about it was tat I did not feel any physical fear at all (though as the day wore on I developed a loathing at the thought of a head wound – the result of seeing skulls shattered. British and German.) and my first sensation on being wounded was of intense surprise that I was wounded. For the men one cannot have anything but the greatest admiration. They were perfectly calm”. George was evacuated to a hospital at Etaples and then England to recover from his wounds.

In early November 1916 George rejoined his Battalion. He was soon assigned as Transport Officer to the battalion and this meant that he was rarely in the front line for any length of time, but instead part of the organisation of keeping his unit supplied. In March 1918 the German’s launched a massive attack on the allies. George’s role kept him out of the worst of the battle. In August 1918 his unit was based on the River Sensee. On the afternoon of 30th or 31st they attacked a village called Eterpigny and by nightfall had captured it. As fresh troops came in to relive them they started to withdraw, but the German’s had registered their artillery on two bridges that needed to be traversed. George was caught by a shellburst and severely wounded in the chest. He died shortly after.

On some Commonwealth War Graves Commission documentation George’s next of kin is noted as R.W. Glover, of Calgary, Canada. He left effects worth £907 4s 8d to Thomas Blackledge, an accountant.