12 Jun 2010

NUTLEY George Albert Bernard


Private TF/201048, 4th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment

Killed in Action on Thursday 1st August 1918

Commemorated: Soissons Memorial, Aisne, France

George Nutley was baptised on the 4th October 1896 at the church of St. James the Less, North Lancing, the youngest of the three children of Charles and Mary Jane Nutley. Neither Charles nor Mary Jane were originally from the local area, but by 1901 they had settled at Salt Lake, Lancing, which now forms part of Freshbrook Road. By 1911 Charles Nutley and both his sons were working as market gardeners, in common with the majority of local working men.

As George Nutley's service record does not survive at The National Archives exact details are not known, but it is believed that George and his brother Arthur enlisted together at Horsham into the 4th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment in early July 1915, and joined their battalion in Egypt in December of that year, where they were to stay for the next two and a half years. During that time their mother died, and the Sussex Daily News reported on the 31st January 1918:

PRIVATE G. A. B. NUTLEY - LANCING - It is a pathetic circumstance that while two Lancing brothers are fighting in Mesopotamia, their mother has recently passed away. Their home is at Salt Lake, Lancing. One, Private G. A. B. Nutley, Royal SussexRegiment, who was formerly in a market garden, has sustained a bayonet wound in the chest, but no further tidings have been forthcoming of him. The older brother is Private A. J. Nutley, also of the County Regiment, and in peace time an assistant to Messrs. Potter and Bailey, grocers etc. Both enlisted two and a half years ago.

By theh summer of 1918 the Battalion had returned from Palestine and were on the Western Front, and the unit war diary, held at The National Archives [WO95/2458] gives details of the action on August 1st, the day that George Nutley died:

4.45 a.m. The line advanced through the Bois de Beugneux. The enemy retired in disorder leaving many machine guns in our hands. A number were killed with the bayonet and prisoners were taken.
6 a.m
. The Beugneux-Cordoux Road was crossed and the objective occupied. The Battalion was now in touch with the Queens on the left and the 103rd Brigade on the right. The line was consolidated and the Battalion reorganised.

6.45 a.m
. Orders were received to advance the line for 600 yards.

7 p.m
. The Battalion advanced with Queens on the left and 8th Scottish Rifles on the right, and occupied the line with little opposition, capturing 6 machine guns. The new line was consolidated.

9 p.m
. Our artillery put down an intense barrage, but no enemy was observed by us.

Casualties during action: Other ranks - killed 10; wounded 28; missing 3.

George Nutley was among the casualties that day and a report in the Sussex Daily News on the 18th September 1918 told of his death, and also news of his brother Arthur, still in Egypt and now in the Royal Army Medical Corps:

LANCING MAN KILLED - After just over three years serving with the Colours, Private G. A. Nutley, Royal Sussex Regiment, son of Mr. C. Nutley, Salt Lake, Lancing, has sacrificed his life for his country on the Western Front. He had only been there about a month, having been transferred from Egypt after about two and a half years service in the Near East, during which time he took part in the victorious advance on Jerusalem. He was wounded once during the Palestine Campaign. Since he left this country for foreign service in December 1915, this young soldier, who was in his twenty-second year, had never been home on leave, and his mother died while he was away. He was formerly engaged in the Market Gardening industry. His elder brother Private A. Nutley, Royal Army Medical Corps, is in Egypt, where he has been in hospital twice since being home on leave.

George Nutley has no known grave and his name appears on the memorial at Soissons, in the Aisne region of France. The memorial commemorates 4,000 officers and men of the UK forces who died during the Battles of the Aisne and Marne in 1918 and who have no known grave.



Paul Nixon said...

Hello Sue, number cruncher here. George Nutley's original 4 digit number was 3437; his brother's number was 3443. Number 3444 was held by a man called Harry Colbran and he joined on the 5th July 1915 so that looks like a possible date for George and his brother too.


Sue Light said...

Thank you kindly number-cruncher - I'll get the page edited when I get home.