Rank: Lance Corporal
Regiment or Ship: 1st/9th Battalion of the London Regiment (Queen Victoria’s Rifles)
Service Number(s): 3835, 391139
Occupation: Clerk Chartered Accountants
Date of Birth: 1894
Place of Birth: Bexhill, Sussex
Date of Death: 01.07.1916
Place of Death: Thiepval Place of Burial / Memorials:
Thiepval Memorial – Pier and Face 9 C.
Address: 68 Station Road (1911 census); 54, Sea Road (Newspaper report of his death), Bexhill
Photos and newspaper articles
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Parents: George Tarrant, born 1865 (in Downham Market, Norfolk), died 1905 in St George’s Hanover Square, and Maria Theresa Pine, born 1862, in Bow, London
Agnes Theresa Tarrant, a sister, was born in 1892, in Reading, Berkshire and was a Publisher’s Clerk, according to the 1911 Census
George Fredrick Tarrant, born in 1894, was only 22 when he was killed and no record of a marriage has been found.
First World War Experience
George’s service records haven’t survived, but his Medal Roll Index and Card have. From these, together with the newspaper reports of his death, we know that he served with the Queen Victoria’s Rifles; firstly as a Rifleman, lastly, as a Lance-Corporal. We also know that he served in the Western Theatre of War (Code 1a) from 28th March, 1915 until his death on 1st of July, 1917. The code, 1a, indicates that the area, in which he served, was France and Flanders, what became known as “The Western Front”.
What we don’t know is what George’s role, during that time, was. If we assume, however, that where the regiment went, George went, we get some idea as to what might have happened, and what the action was, in which he was killed. This, of course, is not necessarily true and cannot be taken as fact but only as an idea, a suggestion, perhaps, a guide and any researcher must check all that is written here before using, to ensure accuracy.
The only Battle that fits the date when George was killed, 1st July 1916, was the Battle of Gommecourt, which was the start of the Battle of the Somme.
Gommecourt was a village in the Ile de France, roughly 72 Km (44 miles) north of Paris, with a very small population but it was in the hands of the Germans who had positioned heavy artillery on its outskirts. It projected into the area already held by the Allied forces and posed a threat to any allied movement.
An attack on Gommecourt, it was decided, could remove that threat while drawing the Germans’ attention, and some of their reserves, away from the planned Somme offensive, further to the south.
The attack began a few days before July with a British bombardment of the German trench lines. The intention was to both severely damage those trenches and destroy the barbed wire strewn across the land in between: both these aims were not achieved.
On July 1st, when the Queen Victoria’s Rifles emerged warily from their trenches and went “over the top”, they were met with uncut barbed wire and intact trenches with the enemy almost untouched by the shelling.
The result was that the woods, farms, and the fields around Gommecourt became ‘killing grounds’ as, within minutes, British soldiers were, literally, mowed down by German machine guns and by their massed artillery fire.
There was slaughter on a grand scale that day, as complete units were wiped out – one of those so many causalities was, almost without any possible doubt, George Frederick Tarrant.
From the Bexhill Observer, Saturday April 21st 1917
Mrs Tarrant of 54 Sea-Road, has received the sad news that her son, Lance-Corporal G. F. Tarrant, London Regiment, who was reported missing on July 1st 1916, has now been officially reported as killed in action.
He had been in France 16 months, and was previously a chartered accountant in London.
George was eligible for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.