The King's Royal Rifle Corps

Rifleman G S Peachment VC

Private Peachment was awarded the Victoria Cross for most conspicuous bravery near Hulluch on 25th Sep 1915. During very heavy fighting, when the front line was compelled to retire in order to reorganise, Peachment, seeing his Company Commander, Capt Dubs, lying wounded, crawled to assist him. The enemy's fire was intense, but though there was a shell-hole quite close in which a few men had taken cover, he never thought of saving himself. He knelt in the open by the officer and tried to help him, but while doing this he was first wounded by a bomb and a minute later was mortally wounded by a rifle bullet. He was one of the youngest men in his battalion (18 yrs old) and gave this splendid example of courage and self-sacrifice.

George Stanley Peachment was born on 5th May 1897 at Parkhills, Bury, Lancs. In 1915 he enlisted at Bury and was placed in the 2nd Battalion KRRC. He was present on the first day of the Battle of Loos where he was killed. Captain Dubs, his Company Commander wrote to Peachment's mother:

'Dear Mrs Peachment...I cannot tell you how sorry I am that your brave son was killed, but I hope it may be some little consolation to you to know how bravely he behaved and how he met his end.

He was in my company from the day he joined the battalion and all that time during the ordinary trench warfare he always did his duty well and was as good a rifleman as one could wish to have. Considering his age it is wonderful and enormously to his credit that he stuck to his work and never gave up during all the very hard time we had before this attack. When we had to make preparations for this attack I made your son one of my orderlies, because I thought that a more suitable job for a boy of his age than taking his place in his platoon for the attack; also I knew he was very keen and quick and would do the work well. In the attack on the morning of the 25th we were the leading battalion of our brigade. By the time we reached the wire in front of the German trenches, we had, I'm afraid, already lost a good many men, but your son was still untouched and keeping beside me.

When we reached the wire we found it absolutely untouched by our artillery fire and an almost impassable obstacle as a result. However we had to push on, and I gave the order to try and get through and over it. Your son followed me over the wire and advanced with me about 20 yards through it till we were only about 15 yards from the German trench. None of the other men of the line were able to get as far and he was the only man with me. As a matter of fact I had not noticed your son was with me, but at this point a bomb hit me in the eye, blowing it and part of my face away. I fell to the ground, but on sitting up, found your son kneeling beside me. The German fire was at this time very intense, but your son was perfectly cool. He asked me for my field dressing and started bandaging my head quite oblivious to the fire. His first thought was to help me, and though there was a shell hole close by where he might have got cover, he never thought of doing so. Of course the Germans were bound to see us sitting up, And one of them threw a bomb which hit your son in the chest while at some time I received a bullet also in the chest. Your son was beyond feeling any pain, though still alive. I tried to drag him into the shell hole and at the same time keep him from moving, but at that moment a bullet hit him in the head and killed him. After his first wound he was bound to die, in fact he was already, immediately after he received it, unconscious to any pain. I lay beside him there all day, and eventually we were both picked up in the late afternoon when the trench was taken by a flank attack.

I can't tell you how much I admired your son's bravery and pluck. He lost his life in trying to help me and no man could have been braver than he was. I have recommended him for the VC and have heard that the Commanding Officer has seen the recommendation. If he gets it, it is sad to think that he is not in this world to receive all the congratulations he would get, but perhaps it may be a comfort to you. Your son died the finest death that a man can die, he showed the greatest gallantry a man can show; and I hope these facts may help you in your sad loss, together with the fact that he was spared all pain and suffering.'

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by Stephen Luscombe