George Hawkins Brotheridge
A century ago, on 23 October 1918, what turned out to be the last battle in the so called '100 Day's Campaign' took place – and Tewkesbury lost two county grammar school boys in that battle.
GEORGE HAWKINS BROTHERIDGE was born in 1898 in Ashleworth to Thomas and Clara Ann (formerly Jones). Thomas was a farmer from Tirley, and Clara was born in Tuffley. In 1901 and 1911 he was living at Colways Farm, Ashleworth. He and his brother were educated at the Grammar School, as was their father (who died in 1919). Part of his education, however, was also undertaken at King’s School, Gloucester. He was a Dairy and Farming student who subsequently assisted his father on the farm.
Aged 20, George was conscripted into the 1st/5th Glosters on 24 May 1918, which had since 1915 fought on the Western Front and in Italy. On 11 September 1918 the battalion had returned to France where George was sent to fill the depleted ranks.
He was involved in the Battle of the Selle, south of Le Cateau, when the British ejected the Germans from a new defensive line.
Pte. Brotheridge was wounded in that action as he died at a Dressing Station on 24 October 1918. His Sergeant Major reported that ‘he was a most willing and good soldier, and his loss is deeply regretted by all who knew him’.
Pte. Brotheridge is buried in the Highland Cemetery, Le Cateau, France. He is not recorded as a Tewkesbury volunteer, although both he and his younger brother, 2nd Lt. Frederick John Brotheridge of the Royal Air Force, who was killed on 19 May 1918, are commemorated on the Tewkesbury Grammar School Memorial, currently displayed at the Town Hall.
Neither brother is included on the Ashleworth War Memorial [Ashleworth historians take note!] but they are commemorated on the Roll of Honour at King’s School, Gloucester, and honoured during the annual Remembrance Day ceremony at the school as one of ‘The King’s Fallen WWI’.Assisted by Malcolm Waldron, with Grammar School research by Wendy Snarey