George Turney PEARSON (1892-1915)
Lieutenant George Turney Pearson (1892-1915) was a colleague Cyril Sladden in the 9th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment.
George Pearson was born on 4th January 1892 at Stourbridge, Worcestershire, the eldest of three sons of Albert Henry Pearson, the director of a brick manufacturing company, and his wife, Kate Nicholson. At the time of the 1901 census, the family lived at Elmshurt, Pedmore, and in 1911 they lived at Thorn Hill, Love Lane, Old Swinford, Stourbridge.
George was educated at Repton School and Worcester College, Oxford, graduating in modern languages in 1913. After leaving Oxford he worked for the British South Africa Company and spent some time in Rhodesia, returning to England in July 1914.
On the outbreak of war, George applied for a commission. He was gazetted as a Second Lieutenant on 26th August 1914 and joined the 9th (Service) Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment. He first encountered Cyril Sladden whilst on training in England. Lieutenant Pearson was the Machine Gun Officer, and Cyril sometimes deputized for him in his absence.
The 9th Battalion left England at the end of June 1915, bound for the Dardanelles. The difficulties in the Gallipoli peninsula had resulted in the British Higher Command needing reinforcements to be sent if the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force was to win through to its goal, Constantinople. The action began in earnest on 6th August when there was a final attempt by the Allied forces to seize control of the Gallipoli peninsula – the intention was to reinvigorate the campaign by capturing the Sari Bair ridge, the high ground that dominated the middle of the peninsula above the Anzac landing. The offensive failed and, on 10th August, the Ottomans counter-attacked and regained control of the entire Sari Bair ridge.
In a letter of 12th August, Cyril Sladden wrote to his mother: “Since that evening we have been resting, collecting, reorganising ourselves. I have taken over the machine guns from Pearson who is one of the other lucky ones but is commanding a company now.” Shortly after that, Cyril was wounded and Pearson was killed in an attempt to secure water at Kugu Wells. With water being a scarce commodity, it was decided to secure the well, situated by a stream, the Kaiajak Dere, in a little valley between Damakjelik Bair and Hill 60. The 9th Worcestershires were selected from the reserve to lead this attack. At 6 pm, Captain Gibbon with 250 men and his four remaining officers set off from the reserve position with the intention of making the attack just before dark and that a position covering the wells should be entrenched during the night. An hour and a half later, the enemy opened fire which wiped out the attack before anyone could close with the enemy. A second charge was repulsed. All the officers were casualties, with Lieutenant Pearson losing his life.
Lieutenant Pearson’s final resting-place is unknown, but he is commemorated on the Helles Memorial. He is also commemorated on the war memorial in St Mary’s Church, Old Swinford (both the general one and a personal one), Stourbridge War Memorial, Repton School War Memorial, Worcester College War Memorial.
The inscription on the personal memorial at Old Swinford reads:
To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of
Lieutenant George Turney Pearson. B.A. Oxon.
IX Battalion Worcestershire Regiment.
Eldest Son of
Albert Henry and Kate Nicholson Pearson,
of Thorn Hill, Oldswinford,
who was killed in action August 12th 1915
while leading an attack at Kabak Kugu Wells
in the Gallipoli Peninsula. Born January 4th 1892.
Now we see through a glass darkly but then face to face.
Tout comprendre cest tout pardoner.