George Warricker was raised in Great Waltham. After the early death of his mother he joined the army before 1911. At the outbreak of the war he was in Mauritius and returned to England in December 1914. The following April he was part of the Allied invasion force that landed in Gallipoli to fight the Turks. He was killed in action in August 1915 in the Battle of Krithia Vineyard in Gallipoli. His sister lived in Church Street.
George was born at Ford End, Great Waltham in 1887, the son of Walter James (‘James’) Warricker and Eliza Warricker (nee Tyrrell). His father had been born at Ford End in 1859; his mother in 1861 at Great Waltham.
They had married on 17th January 1880 at Great Waltham. At the time George’s father was aged 20, a labourer of Great Waltham. His father was unknown. George’s mother was aged 19, of Great Waltham, the daughter of the labourer John Tyrell.
George’s siblings included Walter James Warricker (1880-1914), Mary Ann Warricker (born in 1881), John Warricker (1883-1954), Emma Elizabeth Warricker (born in 1885), and Annie Warricker (1890-1975). All the children were born in the parish of Great Waltham.
At the time of the 1891 census the family was living at Ringtail Green, Great Waltham. George was aged three; his father was employed as an agricultural labourer. George’s mother died in the summer of 1893 aged 32.
The 1901 census found George aged 12, living at Ford End, Great Waltham with his widowed father (a thatcher’s labourer), and siblings John (also a thatcher’s labourer), and Annie. The household also included George’s grandmother, 71 year-old Charlotte Tyrrell.
A couple of years later George’s father moved to Chelmsford.
George lived and enlisted in Chelmsford, serving as Private 9350 in the 1st Battalion of the Essex Regiment. The 1911 census recorded him serving with the battalion at at Quetta, Baluchistan in India. The battalion was later part of the 88th Brigade in the 29th Division and was in Mauritius at the outbreak of the war. It returned to England in December 1914.
In March 1915 George’s battalion was based in Warwickshire. It moved to Avonmouth on 21st March 1915 and embarked on S.S. Caledonia on the first part of the journey to capture the Gallipoli peninsular in Turkey from Turkish forces.
The battalion, including George arrived in Alexandria, Egypt on 2nd April 1915 and after a few days in Egypt sailed to Mudros Harbour, which was reached on 16th April 1915. There they practised landing techniques, before setting sail for Gallipoli on the evening of 24th April 1915. They arrived off Cape Helles just before dawn the following day, and left their mother ships to land in smaller boats at ‘W’ Beach on the peninsula's south-western tip.
After landing George’s battalion moved forward and took part in an successful afternoon attack on Turkish forces on Hill 138 with the 4th Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment. Enemy counter-attacks during the night were repulsed. The following day was spent consolidating those positions prior to an advance towards the inland village of Krithia which began in the late afternoon of 27th April 1915. That evening the battalion entrenched two and a half miles from the village.
The following morning an attempt was made to capture the village from the Turks, but progress was halted a mile from it by enemy forces and the battalion was driven back to the trenches that had been vacated that morning. The battalion lost 14 killed, 76 wounded and 33 missing, many from machine gun fire in what was later known as the First Battle of Krithia.
The last two days of April were spent reorganising and on 1st May 1915 the battalion went into reserve at Morto Bay. That night the battalion, and the whole of the Allied front line was subject to a heavy attack by Turkish forces which was eventually repulsed. Herbert’s battalion suffered 14 killed, 31 wounded and five missing. The dead included the commander of the battalion.
George’s battalion went into reserve on the evening of 5th May 1915, but the following day was ordered to move forward to occupy a ridge one mile south-west of Krithia as part of an unsuccessful attempt to capture the village, later known as the Second Battle of Krithia. Over the next three days the battalion lost five officers wounded, 15 other ranks killed and 137 wounded.
The 1st Battalion of the Essex Regiment, by then exhausted by continuous fighting in tough conditions, went back to rest between the western coast and Krithia Nulla. On 16th May 1915 the battalion returned to the front line, relieving the 8th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment between Fir Tree Wood and Gully Nullah. On the night of 18th-19th May 1915 X and Z companies of George’s battalion, along with comrades from the Royal Scots occupied Fir Tree Wood, suffering 29 casualties in the process.
Private, 1st Battalion, Essex Regiment
The battalion returned to action on 4th June 1915, participating in another costly attack on Turkish positions, later known as the Third Battle of Krithia which only resulte din small gains in ground. Between 4th June and 9th June 1915 alone the battalion lost a total of 15 officers and 200 men, and afterwards only four officers of the original 25 who had left England on 21st March 1915 were still with the battalion. On 10th June 1915 the battalion was in reserve at Gully Beach, before moving into the front line near Krithia on 13th June 1915. That week the Essex County Chronicle of 11th June 1915 reported that George had been wounded.
After a further stint at rest at Gully Beach the battalion returned to the trenches on 24th June 1915, moved to Fir Tree Wood three days later, and on 28th June 1915 participated in a successful advance of up to three-quarters of a mile into enemy territory.
July 1915 was a quiet time for George’s battalion, including a period of rest on the Greek island of Lemnos from the 11th. On 28th July 1915 the battalion returned to Gallipoli, initially in reserve at Gully Beach, before going into the line near Krithia, where on 6th August 1915, it launched an attack on Turkish postions. The attack was intended to be a minor action to divert attention from an imminent Allied landing to the north at Suvla Bay. A post war account on what was later known as the Battle of Krithia Vineyard reported:
“The Essex were detailed to attack the trenches H12a, H12 and trenches under construction north-east of H12 near Krithia. The artillery opened at 2.30 p.m., but was replied to by the Turks with shrapnel and high explosives on the British trench system, particularly the reserve trenches, causing many casualties,
At 3.50 p.m. the Battalion advanced on two lines, two companies (Y and Z) moving in H12a from the south-west, having 200 yards to traverse before reaching the enemy’s trenches. A third (W) attacked H12 and the connection with H12a, each company finding its own supports, X Company was in reserve. The movement on H12 was at first very successful.
The position was taken with few casualties, but very heavy shrapnel fire was opened as the men moved forward again. With great gallantry they took the next trench (H12a), but were then held up by machine gun and rifle fire and bombs. The companies were so weak that on the Turks counter-attacking with bomb and bayonet they were driven back to H12a and its approaches, and then left to the corner of the Southern Barricade. The company on the left (W) reached the trench in continuation of the Southern Barricade and that leading north from it, but were unable to secure the continuation of the Northern Barricade. In the section between the two Barricades, serious casualties were sustained, six officers alone being killed there.
At nightfall the Battalion had secured, as a result of much desperate fighting, the corner formed by H12 and the trench connecting that point and H12a, the only means of communication with which was a small tunnel under the Southern Barricade. Part of X Company was sent forward, with details of other companies, during the night, as the position was difficult to hold on account of its being exposed on three sides to enemy fire. The order had, however, been issued that the trench was to be held at all costs, and the men did so, although suffering considerably from thirst, supplies reaching them by means of petrol tins.
At daybreak on August 7th the Battalion was moved out of the line to Gully Beach, having suffered very heavy casualties - killed, 50; wounded, 202; missing, 180; a total of 432.”
Among the dead that day, 6th August 1915, was George, killed in action. Aged 27, he was one of 142 officers and men from the battalion who were later confirmed to have died that day, and one of three commemorated at Chelmsford. The others were William Green and Reuben Thomas William Beaumont.
George has no known grave and is commemorated at Helles Memorial in Turkey, on the Civic Centre Memorial, Chelmsford and by the Chelmsford Parish Great War Memorial in Chelmsford Cathedral. He was entitled to the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, and Victory Medal.
At the time of his death his sister Emma was living at 4 Church Street in Chelmsford.
George’s father died on 8th November 1933.