George Easton

lincolnshire regimental badgePrivate, 13661, 1st Battalion (previously 8th Battalion), Lincolnshire Regiment, killed in action, 11th April, 1917, aged 31.

Born at Whitgift in 1886, George was one of the six children of Charles and Ruth Easton. His father died in 1893 and mother remarried George Lonsdale of Luddington in 1896. In 1901 the Lonsdale’s were living in Luddington, although by 1911 they had moved to Alkborough where George was a farm labourer.

George enlisted in the Lincolnshire Regiment at Crowle, most likely in late 1914 and arrived in France on 14th September, 1915. Originally serving with the 8th Battalion, in April 1917 he had transferred to the 1st Lincolnshire Regiment, in 62nd Brigade, 21st Division, when they moved from their rest camp to take part in the Second Battle of Arras. When the attack, known as the First Battle of the Scarpe, began on 9th April their Brigade was in reserve to the 64th Brigade as they attacked the Hindenburg Line south of Heniel. The attack was initially successful but was later pushed back in a German counter attack on 10th April. That night the 1st Lincolnshire’s received orders for an attack the next morning on the German trenches from a point about half-way between the Cojeul and Sensee Rivers to the Henin – Heninel road.

The outlook for the attack was not promising. The ground in front of the German trenches was protected by masses of barbed wire, covered by machine guns sited in concrete bunkers. When the artillery barrage failed to cut the wire it was even less so. As the Official History reports ‘Great, but useless, bravery was shown by these battalions in their attempts to get through’. With very few passages through the wire, they were easy targets for the German machine-gunners. Many men did force their way under it, again only to be shot down as they emerged on the opposite side.

The next morning it all proved to be worthless as the Germans evacuated their positions and the 1st Lincolnshires walked through the wire and into the Hindenburg Line.

Private George Easton was one of many casualties that day. He was initally buried in a battlefield grave close to where he fell, but in 1919 George’s body was exhumed and he is now buried in Wancourt British Cemetery.

Not mentioned on Whitgift or Luddington Memorials George may be commemorated on Redbourne War Memorial?