Man and Boy
Major George Perry MBE TD* Royal Artillery & Royal Signals
The Man George Perry was born on 29th March 1899 in Camberwell, London. Son of George Henry, who was killed in action a year later at Vereeninging during the Boer War whilst serving in the 4th Battalion Imperial Yeomanry, and Edith Elizabeth nee Bolton. It seems George junior also had the middle name Henry but never used it and was an only child. By 1901 George was living with his widowed mother and her parents, William and Matilda Bolton, at 92 Church Road, Hove, Brighton, and ten years later in 1911 were still at the same address. George was educated at Connaught Road School and when he left became a Tailor and moved with Edith to12 Gordon Road, Redhill in Surrey. On 23rd May 1916, mid-way through World War I and aged 17, George enlisted into Royal Artillery at Guildford, Surrey, lying about his age, giving it as 18 years and 2 months. His initial rank and service number were Driver, 147347 and his description was 5'.5" tall, weighing 115lbs with brown hair, Hazel eyes and fresh complexion. His religion was Church of England. On 10th June 1916 George was posted to the 6th Reserve Battalion RA, and on 9th December posted to the Western Front as part of the British Expeditionary Force. He remained in France until 3rd May 1917 when he returned to the UK. Back in England he served in No 3 Depot, 343 Brigade Royal Field Artillery, 348 Brigade as a Gunner and 3rd C Reserve Brigade. In early 1918 he attended the Signal Training Centre at Swanage qualifying as a Signaller. He returned to the Western Front on 2nd September 1918 with the 5th Divisional Ammunition Column, which entered into what became a series of complex, endless, overlapping Allied attacks that forced the German Army into retreat. Fighting through Albert (back on the old and devastated Somme ground of 1916), to Irles, Beugny, Havrincourt, Gonnelieu and the River Selle, and finally into Valenciennes and the River Sambre, the Division was in more or less continuous action until late October 1918.
Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. 1914-18 British War Medal. Victoryt Medal. India General Service Medal 'North West Frontier 1930-1931'. 1939-45 Star.
Africa Star '1st Army'. Italy Star. Defence Medal. War Medal 1939-45 'MiD'. Coronation Medal 1953. Army Long Service & Good Conduct Medal. Army Meritorious Service Medal.
Efficiency Decoration 'Territorial' and clasp.
Following the Armistice on 11th November George remained in France, being deprived of five days pay on 18th December for ‘neglect of duty’. He returned to the UK on 27th January 1919 and for his war service awarded the 1914-18 British War Medal and Victory Medal. He was discharged from the Army under army Order 1Va/10/12/1918 on the same day, only to be re-enlisted the next day under the same AO and into the Regular Army. On 31st May 1919 George’s Mother Edith re-married at the Holy Trinity Church in Redhill to Reuben Cann. George was present at the wedding signing the register as a witness. On 31st January 1920 he volunteered to transfer into the Royal Engineers Signal Squadron as a Sapper with service number 623924, attesting the same day and being posted the next. On 27th November 1920, George transferred again to Royal Corps of Signals and posted to B Company Signal Squadron as Signaller with service number 2309615. During the third quarter of 1933 George married Norah Tugelar Butcher in Uckfield and they had one child. He was promoted Lance Corporal on 22nd December 1922 and posted to Gibraltar on 24th October 1923. During the next few years he served in D Coy, F Coy and on 22nd September 1925 extended his service to complete 12 years. He was promoted to Corporal on 20th March 1926 and embarked with his wife and child for India on 7th January 1929, serving on the North West Frontier. He was Appointed Lance Sergeant on 26th February 1930 as part of L Coy and re-engaged to complete 21 yrs service on 26th February 1930. Whilst in India George was awarded the India General Service Medal with clasp North West Frontier 1930-31 for service during the Red Shirt and Afridi Rebellions between 23rd April 1930 and 22nd March 1931. While the Afridi uprising was a traditional Frontier tribal revolt, the Red Shirt Rebellion was essentially political in nature, inspired by the Indian Independence movement unfolding in the rest of British India.
George Perry's Mentioned in Despatches Certificates
He was promoted Sergeant on 11th September 1933 and embarked at Bombay returning to the UK aboard the SS Tuscania and landing at Liverpool on 13th December. He was awarded the Army Long Service & Good conduct Medal in Army Order 222/1934 and during 1936 gained a First Class Certificate of Education at Bulford Camp. He served in the 57th and 59th Companies and was promoted to Company Quarter Master Sergeant on 29th March 1939. On 31st May 1939, George was discharged from the Royal Signals at his own request having qualified for his pension aged 40. His conduct was described as ‘Exemplary’ and his Testimonial read “A very efficient clerk with an accurate knowledge of store accounting and the financial side of telephone and cable agreements. He has been appointed to a Commission in HM Territorial Army. Loyal hard working, and possesses great initiative.” The following day 1st June 1939 he was Commissioned into the 1/54th (East Anglian) Divisional Signals Territorial Army as Lieutenant Quartermaster with another new service number 91326. At this time he was living at Bay Lodge, The Green, Stratford, London. Following the outbreak of World War II on 3rd September 1939, George was embodied, mobilised and embarked for France as part of the British Expeditionary Force on 29th September. He returned to the UK on 28th May 1940 most likely via Dunkirk, and was Mentioned in Despatches on 26th July for distinguished services rendered in connection with operations in the field, and again in December for distinguished services between March and June 1940. He was promoted to Captain (Q.M.) on 18th March 1943 and posted to the British North Africa Force on 9th October serving with the 1st Army as Staff Captain at Sousse Garrison Tunisia. He was made Deputy Assistant Quartermaster General and appointed Acting Major on 15th September 1944, transferred to HQ No 2 District and later the North Africa Staff Pool. He was posted to the Central Mediterranean Force on 8th December seeing service in the Italian Campaign, for which on 19th April he was appointed as a Member of the most Excellent Order of the British Empire, again for gallant and distinguished service. For his war time service George was awarded the 1939-45 Star, Africa Star ‘1st Army’, Italy Star, Defence Medal and War Medal 1939-45 in addition to the MBE and MiDs. George returned to the UK on 24th February 1947 and transferred back into the Territorial Army, 2/20th Signal Regiment, being awarded the Efficiency Decoration and first clasp in the London Gazette of 18th April 1950. In 1952 he applied to transfer to the General List, Section A of the newly re-formed Home Guard and in Army Order 156/1953 was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, named to him as CQMS. He also received the Coronation Medal 1953 the same year. On 29th March 1955 aged 56, George retired from the Territorial Army having reached the required age limit, and at the time was living at 68 Grosvenor Road, London. The next day he was re-enlisted as a Captain in the 1st Essex Battalion Home Guard as their Adjutant & Quartermaster. He relinquished his Commission on 31st March 1956 and appointed as a Lieutenant in the Essex Area Army Cadet Force on 17th April aged 57. George died on 19th November 1959 aged just 60 leaving £1384.5s to his wife. Thus ended the life of a man who first put on a khaki uniform aged 17, served in two World Wars in the British Expeditionary Forces, India between the Wars seeing action in four campaigns and died wearing the same khaki 33 years later amassing a unique collection of medals on the way.
The Story The outstanding group of medals awarded to George Perry were acquired via a private deal after they had failed to sell on e-Bay on 3rd July 2016. They were of interest for a number of reasons, the Efficiency Decoration with clasp, coupled with the Army Long Service and Meritorious Service Medals - effectively a treble long service group, the award of the Coronation Medal 1953, the fact the recipient had seen active service in World War I, inter-wars in India, and then extensive service during World War II, the sheer number of awards - 13 in total and various certificates and photographs of George. All this topped by the award of the MBE - a true Ordecomedology group! His Army service records came with the medals and they, together with the usual trawl of the London Gazette and Ancestry.UK enabled George Perry's biography and extensive service career to be pieced together. George even died in service whilst serving with the Army Cadet Force - a man truly dedicated to his Crown, Country and Service.
- Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire: Unnamed as awarded
- 1914-18 British War Medal: 147347 GNR.G.PERRY. R.A.
- Victory Medal: 147347 GNR.G.PERRY. R.A.
- India General Service Medal: 2309615 CPL.G.PERRY. R.SIGNALS
- 1939-45 Star: Unnamed as issued.
- Africa Star : Unnamed as issued.
- Italy Star: Unnamed as issued.
- Defence Medal: Unnamed as issued.
- War Medal 1939-45: Unnamed as issued.
- Coronation Medal 1953: Unnamed as awarded.
- Army Long Service & Good Conduct Medal: 2309615 SJT.G.PERRY. R.SIGNALS.
- Army Meritorious Service Medal: 2309615 C.Q.M.S. G.PERRY. R.SIGS
- Efficiency Decoration: 1950 Clasp: 1950.
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Page last updated 3 Sep 16