COLLINGE, GEORGE 8623 Private 11th (Pioneer) Battalion 14th Division

THE KING’S (LIVERPOOL REGIMENT)

Born Preston  Enlisted Burnley  Living Leyland

Killed in Action  France / Flanders  23rd March 1918

Ref: ‘Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919’, Part 13.

George Collinge’s name appears on the following local memorials:-

War Memorial, Church Road, Leyland

St. Ambrose Memorial, Moss Lane, Leyland

Mural Plaque in St. Ambrose, Leyland

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

With no known grave, George Collinge is commemorated on the:-

POZIÈRES MEMORIAL, SOMME, FRANCE

The names of the men of the King’s (Liverpool Regiment) are commemorated on Panels 21 to 23. Son of Luke and Annie Collinge, Brook Cottage, Bow Lane, Leyland.

British Red Cross and Order of St. John

– Enquiry Department for Wounded and Missing – 17 Cornwall Gardens, S.W.7 13. 1.20

Dear Madam,

We are looking through our old files, and we much regret to note that notwithstanding constant and careful enquiries, we have never succeeded in telling you anything about your brother Pte G. Collinge 8623 11th Liverpools. His name was on our lists for months, and we asked all the men of his unit whom we were able to see, both in English hospitals and at the bases abroad, but none of them threw any light on his casualty. We have also questioned released prisoners but have learnt nothing. We can therefore only send you a General Account of the action in which he was last seen, with sincere regret at our inability to help you any further, as this Office is now closed. We wish at the same time to offer our sympathy to the family and friends.

Miss E. Collinge        Yours faithfully,  A. H.

P. S. As we have not been in communication with you for many months, you may possibly have heard something from other sources. In the uncertainty it seems wiser to send you this.

– 11 King’s Liverpool Regt.  March 21-24 1918 –

On March 21 1918, our reports show that the 11 K. Liverpools were heavily attacked and obliged to withdraw from Essigny S. of St. Quentin, being surrounded on all sides by the enemy. Near Flavy Le Martel a counter attack with the bayonet was ordered and every effort was made but the ground was lost and the Germans came over so quickly and in such numbers that it was impossible to attend to the wounded or to carry away the dead. Stretcher bearers were in some cases left and it is comforting to think that one or two prisoners have reported that the Germans were kind to the wounded. Some posts were taken and retaken, but it was not till after months had passed that the ground was finally occupied by the Allies so that it easy to understand that the fate of many of our men must always remain unknown. The following are reports made by survivors of the Battalion:-

“ On March 21 when we were on the St. Quentin front to the right of Essigny the Germans started a heavy barrage. We left our billets to take up our position in the front line. We were never able to get more than 50 yards ahead of our billet on account of the barrage.”

“ The Platoon was holding o post in a sunken road at Montescourt near St. Quentin on March 21 1918, they were surrounded by Germans during a fog and were cut off. It was in the early morning, but daylight.”

“ The first platoon was surrounded and cut off by the Germans which made escape seem impossible.”

“ On this date (March 21 ?) at a place called Montescourt the Germans came over and drove us back past our front line and supports. Some wounded men went into a dug-out for shelter. The Germans came over the ground and they would have been left in their hands.”

Thanks are due to Mrs Winterbottom, niece of George and William Collinge, for photocopies of the above items and much information as to their place of burial and commemoration.

Note:-  The 14th Division, of which the 11th King’s Liverpools was a part, was engaged in the

Battle of St. Quentin, 21st-23rd March, 1918 – the start of the German Offensive in Picardy.

Presumably, it was on the third day of this battle that George Collinge was killed in action.

Collinge, George. WE Waring 2003