Private George Marvin, Bourne, 7th Lincolnshire Regiment

In our second remembrance of today, we commemorate the 101st anniversary of the death of George Marvin of Bourne and also of the 7th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment, killed this day, 23rd April, St George’s Day, 1917.

We were very privileged to visit his memorial at Arras on the day of his centenary commemoration today.

George Marvin was born in the spring of 1886 in Bourne to John Henry Marvin, a farm labourer born in Morton and his wife Mary Ann Pick, born in Bourne.

John Henry and Mary Ann were married in Bourne in 1870 and had 9 children of which 4 had not survived by 1911.

Henry Marvin, 1871, Bourne
Elizabeth Marvin, 1872, Bourne
Florence Marvin, 1877, Bourne
Emma Marvin, 1882, Bourne
George Marvin, 1886, Bourne

In 1891 George was living with his parents in The Austerby, Bourne. By 1911 he was still with his parents but they were now living in Bedehouse Bank, Bourne and George, now 25, was working as a labourer on a farm.

George married Annie Eliza Rodgers, daughter of Thomas Rodgers and Susannah Faulkner in 1911, the marriage registered in Bourne.
George and Annie Eliza’s daughter, Margaret Marvin, was born in 1912.

George enlisted in the army in Grantham, although the exact date is not yet known. He was posted to the 6th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment and then moved to the 7th Battalion.

Information from a newspaper cutting would indicate that he was only sent on overseas service early in 1917.

As George’s army records have not been discovered to date then we can only pick up his story in January 1917, assuming he is now with the 7th Lincolnshires but can only really be certain of his movements in the last month of his life, April 1917.

The 7th Lincs received 100 new replacement troops over the period 18th to 20th January 1917. This was whilst they were in the line at Meaulte near Albert on the Somme.

The reinforced Battalion next saw action on the 29th January when they relieved the 8th South Staffordshire Regiment in the line near Sailly Saillisel. This was probably the first action that George Marvin saw if he was part of this reinforcement.

In February the 7th Lincolns and 8th South Staffords traded the camp and front line at Sailly Saillisel in rotation until on the 21st the Lincolns were withdrawn from the line entrained for Corbie and then on to Bussy for the end of the month.

March started in Bussy for the Battalion but then a series of marches saw them in Herissart, Gezaincourt, Maison Ponthieu, La Broye, Waivens before being billeted at Le Suich and Brevillers a few days before the month ended. The fighting force at the end of the month was 32 officers and 882 other ranks.

1st April 1917 – Le Souich
26 other ranks joined for duty wastage from sickness 11 other ranks

3rd April 1917 – Le Souich
Lieut C S Bott took over command of B company

5th April 1917 – Le Souich
4 other ranks joined for duty. battalion with 51st infantry brigade group, marched to Neuville-Au-Cornrt.

6th April 1917 – Neuville-Au-Cornet
Fighting strength 32 officers, 792 other ranks, wastage from sickness 16 other ranks.

7th April 1917 – Neuville-Au-Cornet
Battalion with 51st infantry brigade group marched to Villers sir Simon

8th April 1917 – Villers Sir Simon
Battalion with 51st infantry brigade group marched to Novellette. battalion under 4 hours notice.

9th April 1917 – Novellette (Fisrt day of battle of Arras)

5.30am – Z day of offensive. The 17th Division held in readiness to support the cavalry corps. The Battalion with 51st infantry Brigade moved towards Arras.

9.30pm -Orders received to close up on leading Battalion and bivouac on side of road about 2 miles from Arras.

10th April 1917 – Arras
Battalion with Brigade Group marched into Arras to billets at one hours notice.

13th April 1917
Battalion moved to Railway Triangle East of Arras behind old German front line.

14th April 1917
Moved to Brown Line H28.a.4.5 to H28.c.5.7 old German 2nd Line

15th April 1917
Working party found by Battalion for front line.

16th April 1917 – Brown Line
Working party found by Battalion for Front Line

17th April 1917 – Brown Line
Enemy shelled our trench with 4.2s during day, very heavy during afternoon, Casualties Lieut C S Bott killed, Lieut G A Wright and 17 other ranks wounded.

18th April 1917 – Brown Line
Battalion moved BNorth along Brown Line close to Railway. Battalion HQ moved to Railway Cutting, Captain E James MC and 1 other ranks joined for duty. Casualties 3 other ranks.

19th April 1917 – Railway Triangle
Provided carrying parties to front line, and afterwards returned to Railway Triangle. Casualties Killed 1 other rank, wounded Captain R Pennington DSO and 2 other ranks wounded slightly at duty. Captain J H Cotter RAMC Medical Officer attached, and 2 other ranks.

21st April 1917 – Railway Triangle
Battalion returned to Brown Line. Casualties 1 other rank.

23rd April 1917 – Monchy-Le-Preux

3am – Battalion took up position from cross roads H.29.d.8.7 to H28.d.4.9 in accordance with plan from general advance of the whole line, the 17th division: working in conjunction with 51st Divisioon on the left bank of River Scarpe and 29th Division: on 17 Division right, the 17th Division being centre Division on right bank of Scarpe.

4.45am – Zero Hour a standing barrage put on enemy lines BayonetTrench and Rifle Trench to life at the rate of 3 minutes per 100 yards.

4.55am – The Battalion moved forward with orders to occupy Bayonet Trench after it had been taken by 8th South Staffs

5.45am – Arrived at Lone Copse H.30.d and found 8th South Staffs digging in as this first attack on Bayonet Trench had failed owing to heavy Machine Gun fire both from the enemy line in our immediate front and from the left bank of the River Scarpe.

6.30am – The 8th South Staffs attacked again at 6.30am with same result as the first attack. It was reported that thick coils of wire was still in front of enemy line, also reported that Border Regiment had captured south end of Bayonet Trench.

7.45am – Received orders to attack Bayonet Trench and a barrage was ordered for that time.

8.20am – The Battalion advanced to attack Bayonet Trench leading waves A company on left, B company on right D company supported A and C supported B.

9am – Leading waves reported to be within 30 yards of Bayonet Trench having crawled there under heavy machine gun fire, trench strongly held. Heavy enfilade fire from North of River Scarpe.

10.5am – Attack having failed the Battalion returned to the assembly trench. Lone Copse holding line H.30.d.2.3 to left towards the Scarpe.
Consolidation commenced at once and awaited orders.
Captain D Roberts, 2 Lieuts H Y Maulkinson, A Crawley, T E Stubbs, R G Rudd killed with 22 other ranks, wounded 98 other ranks, missing 20 other ranks.
During our stay in this position the enemy constantly kept a barrage on our back lines and in the valley below our position.

6pm – 50th Brigade passed through our position to attack Bayonet Trench. Battalions of 51st brigade ordered to stand fast and form close support. Enemy having seen 50th Brigade advancing put a very heavy barrage on our back lines and shortened as the waves approached.

8.30pm – 50th Brigade attack failed. The Dorset regiment returned and took up a position about 100 yards in our front and dug in.

9pm – Enemy put up S.O.S which brought a greater artillery barrage than ever in and about our trench and back lines.

11.30pm – Orders received to return to Railway Triangle East of Arras after being relieved.

24th April
4am – Battalion Arrived at Railway Triangle in an exhausted condition having been in the open for about 20 days.

25th April
Moved by train from Arras to Grand Rullecourt

27th April
Fighting strength, 24 officers, 685 other ranks.

George Marvin was killed in action on the 23rd April during the attack on Bayonet Trench.

The story of the battle for Bayonet Trench which took the life of George Marvin also features in the story of Dunsby man Harry Chamberlain who was killed fighting with the 8th South Staffords. Both George and Harry are commemorated on the Arras memorial for soldiers with no known grave.

Grantham Journal Saturday 5th May 1917
LOCAL CASUALTIES:- Lieut Arthur Wherry was wounded in action last week and on Thursday reached Dover. He is now in Hospital at Wanstead, suffering from a flesh wound in the thigh caused by shrapnel. The wound is not of a serious character and Lieut Wherry is favourably progressing towards recovery. News was received last week that Pte Parker had been killed in action. Pte Parker, up to the time he joined up was employed by Messrs. Foley and Butler and was closely associated with the Wesleyan Church and School being an energetic worker. On Monday, an intimation was received at Bourne that Pre Fred Lloyd of Burghley Street has been killed in action. Pte Lloyd had spent several years in the Army and on the outbreak of was was called up as one of the reserve men. He had been home several times during the intervening period and had not long been out on active service after his last leave. On Wednesday the death in action of another Bourne boy was notified, Pte George Marvin, son of Mr and Mrs Hy Marvin, Bedehouse Bank. He went out with his regiment early in the New Year and leaves a young widow and one child.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission:
In memory of Private George Marvin, 27876, 7th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment who died on 23 April 1917.
Remembered with honour, Arras Memorial.

We will remember them