George Warman of 3 Alpha Street, Toll Bar, joined the army in May 1915.
He did six weeks basic training and then he was shipped to Egypt, from where he was sent to Gallipoli, arriving there in August 1915.
George was in the 4th Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment, part of the 29th Division. They had been sent to Gallipoli as replacements for the hundreds of men who had been killed in the fighting there.
The British Army was withdrawn from Gallipoli in the last few days of December 1915 and George sailed to Alexandria in Egypt.
He arrived in Alexandria on the morning of 14th January 1916.
The next day he was moved by troop train to a camp in the desert near Suez. He spent the next two months there resting and training.
In the evening of the 14th March 1916 he was taken by train from Suez back to Alexandria, arriving the morning of the 15th. That evening George sailed for France, arriving in Marseilles on the morning of the 20th March 1916.
He boarded a train of cattle trucks that night for a three day journey to a rail head called Pont Remy, about 20 miles behind the starting point for the Battle of the Somme.
On April 4th he moved 16 mile forwards to a village called Louvencourt, 5 miles from the front line.
On April 11th he moved to Mailly Maillet, 2 miles behind the front lines, working on defences.
On April 18th the 4th Worcesters moved to the front line at a point the British maps called Mary Redan, just south of Beaumont Hamel.
George spent until the end of June doing six days in the trenches and six days five miles back at Louvencourt in reserve.
On June 24th the seven day bombardment of the German front lines and their supply lines began. In those seven days the British fired 1,500,000 shells onto the Germans along a 13 mile front.
On the night of 30th June the Worcesters moved 5 miles forward to the front line, facing Beaumont Hamel.
July 1st 1916
THIS WAS THE FIRST DAY OF THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME
1st July 1916 was the worst day the British army has ever suffered, with 59,000 casualties of whom 20,000 were deaths.
For all the men that died or were wounded that day very little ground was gained along most of the front line.
George Warman survived the 1st July and for the next 14 days helped to hold the front line trenches, also helping to rescue the wounded and then clear the area of the hundreds of dead.
On the 14th they were withdrawn to the rear. It had been decided that the 29th division would be sent north to Flanders.
On July 27th they were taken by cattle trucks to Poperinge, 10 miles behind Ypres. Two days later they marched to Ypres.
George spent from the 30th of July to the 5th of October 1916 doing six days in the front line trenches and six days at the rear in reserve.
Then they were sent back to the Somme.
They arrived at Amiens behind the Somme front line on October 8th. They moved towards the front line on the 10th, being used to carry ammunition forwards.
On the 13th they were put in the front line trenches near Gueudecourt, at the southern end of the Somme front line.
Throughout October and November 1916 it rained continually and the battlefield became waist deep in mud. A lot of men lost their lives by drowning in the mud.
On the night of October 20th, they went to the rear. It took them 12 hours to walk 4 miles because of the mud.
George spent from October 13th to December 11th in all that mud doing 6 days in the front line trenches and 6 days in the rear on reserve.
On December 11th they were moved 16 miles back to Corby. George was given 10 days leave over Christmas. Elizabeth always said he turned up at 3 Alpha Street unannounced and covered in mud, having travelled from France like that.
They could not have had a lot of time together. He had 10 days to get home from France and get back again. Travel took a lot longer in 1916 than it does today. That’s maybe why he didn’t stop to get cleaned up before he got home.
At the end of George’s leave, Elizabeth and the children went to Doncaster Railway Station with him, to see him off on the train.
Submitted by Ida Blair