PADDISON, George Mitford

Paddison, GMLieutenant “D” Coy. 6th Bn., Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry.

Born

November 1894.
One of four sons of Richard and Jane Milner Paddison, of Springfield, Tiverton, Devon. His father, “Pot” Paddison was a Master at Blundell’s School.

Education

Blundell's School, from the age of 12, as a “Day Boy”; May 1906 to Summer 1912.  He was a School Monitor, a Huish Exhibitioner, and a Newte Exhibitioner.
Balliol College, Oxford as an exhibitioner.

Service

Commissioned in August 1914.

Death

30th July 1915, aged 21.
He was killed whilst leading his company to recapture trenches temporarily lost to the Germans. In a letter to his father, an OB wrote “it was a case of recapturing some trenches momentarily lost by the use of liquid fire by the Germans.  At about 3 pm we were ordered to attack so we dashed over the open into Z wood, D company leading followed by C Company. A and B were in S wood on our right. Paddison commanding D led them in a magnificent manner and the men of D were glorious.  Paddison’s company had reoccupied the trenches and he himself, with the same calculation daring with which he climbed the martyrs’ Memorial, was jumping into a further trench in advance of our line; but a bullet struck him in the head and he died shortly afterwards without regaining consciousness.”  An OB in another regiment also wrote to his father “I saw him start on his counter attack, leading his men most magnificently in one of the hottest spots on the field; and I am sure the Officer Commanding Cornwalls will have told you how well his platoon and the Company hung on after they had lost all their officers, inspired by their example.”  Another letter to his father was written by Michael Wills who was himself killed only a few days after Paddison:-
“Dear Mr. Paddison, I heard two days ago when I was in the trenches, of the death of your second son, George, with whom I was at Blundell’s and I feel for you in your great sorrow.  I saw your son when we were in the trenches about a fortnight ago when his battalion was in reserve.  No doubt you have heard by now the circumstances of his death but as we (the Somersets) came up after I can tell you one or two new items.  On Friday morning (30th July) the Germans used liquid fire and captured some trenches which were being held by our division.  This attack was begun just after one of the regiments had relieved another and the retiring one was on its way to the rear.  They were, at once, summoned back and were met by a tremendous artillery and machine gun fire which nearly wiped them out.  Meanwhile the Cornwalls, who were in billets five or six miles behind the firing line were brought up by a forced march and occupied the trenches we still hold. The Germans attacked this with their liquid fire but the Cornwalls returned about 20 yards back to keep clear of the fire and when they saw the Germans advancing to take their trench, they doubled back into it, beat out the fire which was burning on top of the sandbags, and gave the enemy some rapid fire which sent them back to their trench, repulsed. For this fine bit of work the Cornwalls have been thanked specially by the Corps Commander. Whether your son was killed while advancing through a wood which was blown to pieces by the artillery, and where a good many Cornwalls were killed, or whether he was killed repulsing the attack, I don’t know: but he died a hero’s death and his regiment helped to save the situation. Our company was brought up just after the repulse of the Germans and held the trenches for three days under very heavy gun fire. We had to lie down at the boom of our trench for two hours at a lime, the ground shaking and huge lumps of earth falling on us from time to time.  I thought you might like to hear from somebody who was more or less in the same spot at the time.  I was at Blundell’s 1908 – 11 (School House) and was in your form Vb for a year or so.”   

Burial/Commemoration

Grave: Sp.Mem.
Sanctuary Wood Cemetery, Ypres.
By chance, George’s elder brother Lt. R.H. Paddison of the Royal Engineers, was in the same sector and succeeded in finding the body, only to be seriously wounded whilst arranging for the burial. The exact position of the grave was lost in subsequent fighting and so he is commemorated on a special memorial near the west wall.  

 

Memorial

His headstone is at 50°50’N, 002°90’E
The family chose to have the inscription “Their Glory Shall Not be Blotted Out”.

Research

Commonwealth War Graves Commission - www.cwgc.org
The National Archives, Public Records Office, Kew  WO 339/11627 and Medal rolls WO 372/15
“The Register of Blundell's School, Part II 1882 – 1932” (1932) MAHOOD, A.S., Ed. Entry No.5116
Cemeteries & Memorials in Belgium & Northern France (2004) Commonwealth War Graves Commission. 6/168
The Blundellian, November 1915 p198, & July 1916 p247
Field visit (JEA & GRY 11/04/2005)

 

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