Branch, George – biog
Tomorrow, 28th August 2014, marks the centenary of the death of a Brandon man in WW1.
George Branch had already served nine years as a career soldier in the Norfolk Regiment before he was placed in the Reserves and returned to civilian life with a job at the Metropolitan Gas Works. He was not destined to be in civilian life long because two months later war broke out. He was immediately mobilised and recalled back to his regiment.
Within a few weeks George was in France marching toward the Front with the Norfolk Regiment. It seemed the enemy were much closer than intelligence had led the Norfolks to believe. George and the rest of the Norfolks were attacked and initially held their ground, repulsing the enemy’s attempt to surround them. In doing so they suffered heavy casualties from enemy shrapnel and so the order to withdraw was given. In the ensuing confusion many wounded were left behind, a result of some of the forward units not receiving the message to withdraw. It would appear that George was one of those who, if he was still alive at that time, would have been very vulnerable to the overwhelming numbers attacking him.
There was a delay of over a year before the War Office informed George’s next of kin that he was no longer missing and instead presumed killed in action. His mother had lost one of her sons within a few weeks of the start of fighting and she would endure the rest of the war worrying about her two other sons, William and Herbert, who were also fighting at the front with the Norfolk Regiment.