George Studd

George Studd was born in 1899 in Little Bromley, almost certainly at his parents’ house on Shop Road, which until recently had been called Manningtree Road.  Both of George’s parents, Charrington and Clara (whose maiden name had been Chaplin) were natives of the village, and had one other child, a boy called Edwin who was born in November 1901. 

Like most of the Little Bromley’s menfolk at that time, Charrington Studd worked as an Agricultural Labourer, as did Clara’s father George Chaplin, who also lived with the family.   

George was conscripted into the British Army shortly after his 18th birthday.  Since early 1916, voluntary recruitment had ceased, and even if a man wanted to join up they were still officially a conscript. 

George – still only 18 years old - was posted to France at the start of April 1918, and on the 13th of that month he joined the 18th Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers.  For most of the War, the minimum age for a British soldier to be sent overseas was 19, however the reverses suffered by the British in March – which were, in part caused by a manpower shortage - prompted the age requirement to be lowered to 18½. 

During George’s time with the Battalion, they only spent a few, short periods in the line – all of which were in the vicinity of Aveluy Wood, near Albert.  The Wood had been situated just behind the British front line for most of the 1916 Somme battles, but a large part of it was captured by the Germans at the end of March 1918 during the first of their Spring Offensives.

On 1st June 1918, the 18th Lancashire Fusiliers were one of three battalions tasked to recapture that part of the Wood still in German hands.  Initially they met with success, and by 5.30 a.m. had attained their final objective.  At midday the Germans - who by this time had been heavily reinforced - counter attacked, and despite determined resistance the British were gradually forced back to their starting positions. 

The Battalion suffered 265 casualties in the attack, including 20 dead and 49 missing.  Most of those initially listed as missing had in fact been killed, including George.       

George has no known grave, and is officially commemorated on Panel 34 of The Pozieres Memorial.  This Memorial commemorates over 14,000 casualties of the U.K. and 300 of the South African Forces who have no known grave, and who died on the Somme between 21st March 1918 and 7th August 1918.