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George Peachment ["Tales of the V.C."]
Article with annotations.
Apprentice steam engine maker, George Stanley Peachment volunteered for the army in April 1915 and became a Rifleman (Private) in the 2nd Battalion, The King's Royal Rifle Corps (KRRC). It should be noted that this brave young volunteer signed with a false date of birth as he died aged 18, British Army Regulations stated that to serve overseas a man must be 19 years or over. Manpower shortages at this period of the war meant that training was perfunctory in practice and very short in time, illustrated by the fact that the 18 year old Rifleman Peachment was in action on the first day of the Battle of Loos on 25 September 1915, some short 20 weeks later. He was with the 2nd KRRC south of the Vermelles to Hulluch road when, during very heavy fighting, the British front line was nearly overwhelmed by the German forces and forced to retire, in the military spin of the time 'in order to reorganise' - when infact their Division's attack had been stopped by uncut barbed wire and gassed by their own side, then expelled from ground earlier won at great cost by German counter attacks. During this 'retirement' Private Peachment saw his company commander, Captain G.R. Dubs lying wounded, and bravely, seemingly without thought of his own safety crawled to help him. The enemy fire was intense and, although there was a shell-hole quite close in which a few men had taken cover, Private Peachment apparently, by his actions, did not place his own safety above that of a man to whom he must have felt great loyalty. He knelt in the open by this officer and tried to help him, but while doing so was first wounded in the chest by a grenade ('bomb'). This did not end his selfless acts as he now, amazingly, began to drag Dubs to a place of safety. However, sadly, in a very short time George Peachement was then mortally wounded by small arms (rifle or M.G.) fire. He was posthumously awarded the V.C. for bravery but his body was never recovered and his name has been carved into the 'Memorial to the Missing' at 'Dud Corner' CWGC Cemetery, Loos. The attached account of his actions was written by James Price Lloyd of the Welsh Regiment, who served with Military Intelligence. After the war, the government to destroyed all the archives relating to this propaganda (section MI 7b (1)). They were regarded as being too sensitive to risk being made public. Remarkably these documents have survived in the personal records of Captain Lloyd. Many of these papers are officially stamped, and one can trace the development of many individual articles from the notes based on an idea, to the pencil draft which is then followed by the hand-written submission and the typescript. The archive "Tales of the VC" comprises 94 individual accounts of the heroism that earned the highest award for valour, the Victoria Cross. These are recounted deferentially and economically, yet they still manage to move the reader. Date stamp: 13 March 1918.