RFA West Lancs Bdes
681877 BDR. G. BICKERS. R.F.A.
George Bickers was born on 1 March 1888 in Wheatley, Oxfordshire, and baptised on 27 May that year at Paddington St Peter, in London. George’s father, also George was born in 1849 in Langley, Norfolk. He was a domestic coachman and his job seems to have had him and his family moving around a lot between London, Oxfordshire and Norfolk before they finally settled in Beccles, Suffolk in about 1900. George’s mother was Emily Eliza Parish (b. 1858 in Northaw, Hertfordshire). George snr and Emily were married in 1887 and George jnr was born the following year. The couple had 9 children in all but lost one in infancy. George jnr’s siblings were: Emily (b. 1889), Arthur (b. 1890), William (b. 1893), Ernest (b. 1894), Charles (b. 1895), Queenie (b. 1898) and finally John (b. 1901).
George jnr was married in 1909 to Minnie Maria Crisp (b. 1889 in Geldestone, Norfolk). The couple had two children, George Frederick (b. 1909), and Gladys Minnie (b. 1913). In 1911, the family lived at 35 Smallgate, Beccles, Suffolk, and George worked as a wood sawyer.
George must have been in the Territorials before the War. When he enlisted he was given service number 428. He enlisted at Lowestoft and was eventually posted to “A” Battery of 276 Brigade and his service number was later changed to 681877. He landed in France on 18 November 1915, which is 6 or 7 weeks after 276Bde had landed. George has no family connection with the traditional geographical areas for recruitment to the West Lancashire brigades (Liverpool, Preston and Lancaster). So all this suggests that George was originally posted to another Brigade and transferred at some later date. At some point, George was promoted to Bombardier.
In April 1917 276Bde were engaged with 55th Division in the defence of Givenchy. The Germans launched their attack on 9 April. The enemy attack continued until 18 April, when it slackened off then ceased. On 20 April, the Division re-captured a number of trenches near Givenchy and skirmishes continued until the end of the month but neither side made any gains.
During May, the Brigade remained near Givenchy but there were no more attacks and on 27 May they were relieved from the line and withdrew to bivouac at Bois des Dames. George was wounded during this fighting and he died of wounds on 20 May 1918. He was 30 years old.
Service No: 681877
Date of Death: 20/05/1918
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery, “A” Bty, 276th Bde. Cemetery/memorial reference: I. F. 24.
Cemetery/Memorial: PERNES BRITISH CEMETERY
Additional Information: Son of George and Emily Bickers, of Beccles; husband of Minnie Maria Bickers, of 31 Smallgate, Beccles, Suffolk.