George Draper

4/6668, Private, “A” Company. 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment.

Missing In Action on the 30th July 1916 aged 20.

Thiepval Memorial, Somme.

George was the son of Mrs Rebecca Draper of 35 Haycroft Road, Stevenage. He joined the 1st Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment and was posted to France on the 8th November 1914, and was later transferred to the 2nd Battalion of the Regiment and served continuously on the Western Front until his death during the Battle of the Somme. His older brother, Alfred, was killed two years later whilst fighting in the same sector of the Somme.

The Battalion were part of the 30th Division and on the 30th July 1916 were ordered to make an attack due East to capture the German second line of defence between Falfemont Farm and Guillemont. The task was a big one where, in one place, the 89th Brigade had to advance for a distance of over a mile of big rolling countryside. Prior to the general advance a subsidiary attack was planned on Maltzhorn Farm. At 22.00 pm on the 29th July the battalion moved up to its assembly positions South of Bernafoy and Trones Wood. The Germans shelled the battalion with Tear Gas and a new sort of Gas that caused violent stomach pains and headaches amongst the men. "A" Company attacked Maltzhorn Farm with a battalion of French troops and although they did not hold the Farm the attack was deemed a success. About 70 to 80 German troops were taken by surprise in a trench running North to South through the Farm and were, with one exception, all killed. "A" Company returned to the battalion having suffered about 30 casualties of which George Draper was one.  Another Stevenage man, Alfred Forder, was also to lose his life in the same assault later in the day.

George Draper has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France. (Pier/Face 2C.)

Medal Entitlement: 1914 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal.

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