Stanstead Abbotts

Local History Society

George Henry CHRISTMAS

Private 15041

C Coy 7th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment

Killed in Action 22nd March 1918 aged 23

Born in 1895 in Islington, North London; his parents were George and Elizabeth, by 1901 they had moved to Finsbury Park where his father was working as a furnace stoker.  George had 3 brothers Thomas, Frank and Gordon.  The 1911 census shows them having moved to St Margaret’s and living at 6 Lichfield Terrace.  There were now 2 sisters for George, Ethel and Elsie.  Gordon no longer appears and is presumed to have died in infancy.  His father now worked for the Metropolitan Water Board as an engine stoker, and George himself was employed as a baker’s assistant.

When George joined the army he was posted to C Coy, 7th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regt.  Known as the “Shiny Seventh”, this battalion was formed in September 1914 as part of Lord Kitchener’s 2nd call for 100,000 volunteers.  They served entirely in France and Flanders from their arrival in July 1915 until they were disbanded in 1918.  George was killed in action whilst defending a bridge over the Crozat Canal.

The Battalion had failed to blow up the bridge due to a lack of explosives and C Company came under heavy enemy machine gun fire and was forced to retire, it was during this action that George died; his company reinforced by members of the Northampton Regiment counter attacked and the bridge was retaken.  

George’s body was never recovered and he is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial. This memorial bears the names of over 14000 British and South African troops who died in the area between March and August 1918 who have no known grave.  

Both his brothers served in the Army and survived the war.  Thomas in the 6th Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment and Frank in 8th Reserve Brigade Royal Field Artillery.

Medals Awarded: British War Medal, Victory Medal, 1915 Star