Hurst War Memorial, St.Nicholas Church, Hurst, Berkshire
:: Hurst in the Great War
:: The War Trophy
:: Reminiscences
:: Gallery
:: Map of Memorials
:: The Graves
:: Casualty Statistics
:: Military Voters
Hurst War Memorial
Follow on Twitter
Previous: Albert Lovejoy
Next: Alfred Millard

Miles, George Edwin

George Edwin Miles
Victory Medal
Victory Medal
British War Medal
British War Medal
Private George Edwin Miles (20957)
Killed in Action on Sunday 30th July 1916
Battle of the Somme, aged 22
Son of James & Eliza Miles
Father's occupation: Carter on Farm
Born 25th December 1893 at Hurst
4 sisters, 4 brothers, position in family: 2
Infant School:Hurst Infants
Senior School:Hurst Boys
Admitted:Monday 7th April 1902
Age on admission:8
Left school:Friday 21st December 1906
Age at leaving:12
Local address: Sandford Mill Cottages, Woodley
Pre-war occupation: Carter on Farm
Enlisted:Reading, After Feb 1916
Regiment:Royal Berkshire Regiment
Battalion:5th Bn.
Division:12th (Eastern)
Died:Sunday 30th July 1916
Cause:Killed in Action
Action:Battle of the Somme
Battalion at:Auchenvillers
Commemorated:Memorial at Thiepval Memorial, Somme

George Miles was born in Hurst on Christmas Day 1893 to James and Eliza Miles, both of whom were also born in Hurst. He was christened in St.Nicholas Church on 4th March the following year.

George started at the Hurst Infant School on 20th April 1898, and moved up to the Boys' School three years later.

By 1911 he was working as a carter on a farm, and the family were living at Merry Hill Green.

George enlisted during the war and became a private in the Royal Berkshire Regiment.

The 17th Manchester Regiment was involved from the First Day of the Battle of the Somme. They suffered heavy losses at Montauvan and Trones Wood during the battle to capture the village of Guillemont held by the German 2nd Battalion 104th Reserve Infantry Regiment. Due to the heavy casualties they requested reinforcements and on the 11th July were joined by around 70 men from the Royal Berkshire Regiment. George Miles and William Dance were part of that group.

From the 24th to 29th July 1916 the 17th Manchesters were entrenched at Trones Wood and Bernafay Wood, preparing for another attack on Guillemont. They were engaged in active reconnaissance and awaiting a detachment of troops from the Liverpool Pals Regiment to join them, but they were delayed by misty weather.

Late in the evening of the 29th they came under heavy enemy bombardment with shells and tear gas which lasted for 6 hours until 4am on the Sunday morning.

At 4.45am that morning the 18th Manchesters and Royal Scots Fusiliers were ordered to attack and advance on the German position at Guillemont. They came under heavy resistance from machine gun and sniper fire.

At 5.45am the 17th Manchesters received orders to reinforce the attack west of the village but they were disorientated by the thick mist. They joined up with the 16/18th Manchesters at 7.45am.

Led by Lieut. Col. Grysewood, the 17th Manchesters joined in the attack in an attempt to break the German defences but were held back by short range rifle and machine gun fire and a thick barrier of barbed wire. They received no further support during the battle.

By lunchtime that Sunday there were 274 casualties with 48 killed, including two officers. Both George and William were amongst the dead. Most of the bodies lay in No Mans' Land until 15th September due to continued fighting.

George has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial and in St. Johns Church, Woodley.


George Miles on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme
Thiepval Memorial, Somme

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in morning
We will remember them.
Lawrence Binyon