George Alfred Hitchcock

lincolnshire regimental badgePrivate, 15420, 6th (Service) Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, died of wounds, 22nd December 1916, aged 29

Born at Crowle in 1886, George was one of six children of Walter and Esther Hitchcock. Both of his parents had arrived in Crowle from Devon and the family lived in Cross Hill, possibly in the cottages next to the St Oswald Arms.
When George was born his father had been a flax dresser. However following a down turn in the flax industry in 1892 he became unemployed. Travelling to Goole to look for work, he fell over a badly secured rope into Goole Dock and drowned. His mother was a charwoman in 1901 whilst George was a rope maker.

In 1909 George married Ada Watts, possibly in Crowle as the marriage was registered in Thorne although Ada was from Scunthorpe. In 1911 George had become a farm labourer and the couple lived in North Street with their daughter Ethel May, aged 4 months. When he enlisted they had moved to Godnow Road.

George enlisted in the Lincolnshire Regiment at Epworth in February 1915. His first involvement in the war came in September 1915 when he was sent to reinforce the 6th Lincoln’s in the Balkan’s Campaign, better known as Gallipoli where they had suffered over 400 casualties in the disastrous action against the Turkish positions on Anafarta Ridge on 9th August.

George served with the 6th Lincoln’s throughout the rest of the Gallipoli campaign, battling, heat, dysentery, disease, flies, frostbite and the Turkish Army until their evacuation in December. Following a period of respite in Egypt they arrived in France in July 1916 and were posted initially to Arras, joining the Battle of the Somme in September where they participated in the Battle of Thiepval Ridge, after which they went into reserve.

On the 14th November they were posted back to the front, to; ‘a wretched part of the battlefield, a ravine west of Beaucourt, where the front line consisted largely of shell-holes, unconnected, and full of mud and water’. Here they were constantly under fire and it was during one of these attacks in December that George received a gunshot wound to his head. Taken to a Casualty Clearing Station in Varennes, it was here on 22nd December 1916 that George Middleton died of his wounds. He is buried in Varennes Military Cemetery.

George is most likely also the A W Hitchcock commemorated on the plaque to former members of the congregation and Sunday School in Crowle Methodist Church.