b. 05/05/1897 Bury, Lancashire. d. 25/09/1915 Loos, France.
George Stanley Peachment (1897-1915) was born at Parkhills, Fishpool, Bury, Lancashire on 5th May 1897. His father was George Henry Peachment from Swanton Morley, Norfolk. He was a hairdresser and newsagent. George’s mother was Mary nee Barnes, an elementary schoolmistress from Newmarket, Cambridgeshire. George and Mary married in 1893 at Downham, Cambridgeshire. George had three siblings: Charles Henry, David Algernon and Mabel Lois.
George was educated at Parkhills United Methodist Church School, St Chad’s Junior School and Bury Technical School, where he studied engineering. He was an apprentice fitter engineer at Ashworth & Parker of Elton, Bury and later with JH Riley. His first attempt to enlist was unsuccessful as he was underage, but he succeeded on 18th April 1915, giving his age as 19 years and one month. He was posted to A Company, 5th King’s Royal Rifles Corps. He absented himself from 2nd – 5th July 1915 and was fined seven days’ pay. He transferred to the 2nd Battalion on being sent to France on 27th July. He was further in trouble when he was confined to barracks for three days on 19th September 1915, for having a dirty sword on guard mount parade.
At the Battle of Loos, on 25th September 1915 near Hulloch, France, during very heavy fighting, when the front line was compelled to retire in order to reorganise, Private Peachment saw his company commander lying wounded and crawled to help him. The enemy fire was intense but although there was a shell-hole quite close in which a few men had taken cover, Private Peachment never thought of saving himself. He knelt in the open by his officer and tried to help him, but while doing so was first wounded by a bomb and a minute later mortally wounded by a rifle bullet.
George’s body was not recovered after his death and he is commemorated on the Loos Memorial. The initial recommendation for the award of the Victoria Cross came from the man whose life he saved, Captain Guy Rattray Dubs. A memorial service for George was held on 17th October 1915 in Parkhills United Methodist Church, Bury.
George never married and the VC was presented to his mother by King George V at Buckingham Palace on 29th November 1916. In addition to his VC, he was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-20 and Victory Medal 1914-19. The medal group, a letter of condolence from Captain Dubs to his mother, George’s death plaque and other documents were purchased for £31,050 by medal specialist Michael Naxton on behalf of Michael Ashcroft at a Spink auction on 6th November 1996. It is now displayed in the Ashcroft Gallery, Imperial War Museum.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: LORD ASHCROFT GALLERY, IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM, LONDON.
BURIAL PLACE: NO KNOWN GRAVE - ON LOOS MEMORIAL, LOOS, FRANCE. PANEL 101-102.
George Peachment's medals displayed at Spinks Auction House (now in Lord Ashcroft Gallery)
Bury Grammar School
War Illustrated, 4th December 1915
Tottington Cenotaph, Bury
February 2020 (Thomas Stewart)