Corporal George Jarrett VC

On 3rd May 1917 Corporal Jarratt, aged 25, sacrificed his life to save his comrades. He was captured, along with some wounded men, at Pelves in France and placed under guard in a dug-out. That same evening the enemy were driven back by British troops and the leading infantry started to bomb the dug-outs. A grenade fell into Jarratt's trench and without hesitation he put both feet on it so that when it exploded his legs were blown off. Jarratt died soon afterwards although the other wounded men were safely removed. He was posthumously awarded the VC, gazetted one month later.

George Jarratt was born in Kennington, Surrey on 22nd July 1891. In 1911 he worked at Beefeater's gin distillery as a junior clerk. He married Gertrude in 1915 and they had a daughter, Joyce, born in 1916 while he was away at war. They lived at Southgate in Middlesex. When the war began he volunteered and joined the Royal West Kents but later transferred to the 8th Battalion Royal Fusiliers. They went to France in May 1915 and two years later he was dead. His wife received his VC from the King on 21st July 1917. King George presented 32 medals that day, eight of which were posthumous. The other medals to deceased soldiers were collected by parents, Gertrude was the only wife. The photo of her and baby Joyce meeting the King was published in the Illustrated London News 28.7.1917.

The original medal can be seen at the Fusiliers Museum at the Tower of London. George Jarratt's name can be seen at the Arras Memorial in France and on St Mark's War Memorial at Kennington Oval, London.

These Were Our Sons: Stories from Stockwell War Memorial
by Naomi Lourie Klein '(Elephant Books 2010)'

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