In just one month’s time we will be remembering the dead from two world wars and other conflicts. Here is another of my humble efforts to find out about those commemorated on the war memorial that stands in the churchyard to St James, Ogley Hay, in my home town of Brownhills in the West Midlands.
The subject of this post is Driver George Dorsett, who served in the Royal Field Artillery.
This George Dorsett was a nephew of the footballer of the same name who played for West Bromwich Albion and Manchester City.
George Dorsett’s birth was registered at Lichfield in the third quarter of 1897.
1901 census. Chester Road, Brownhills, with parents Thomas and Annie, aged 4.
1911 census, High Street, Brownhills, with parents Thomas Edward and Annie, age 13, the second of six children. Thomas was a coal miner and his oldest sons, Thomas and George, were coal mine labourers.
George Dorsett 99729, Dvr [Driver], Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Field Artillery, enlisted Litchfield [sic], Staffs. Killed in action, France & Flanders, 24 July 1917. (Transcript only.)
Lichfield Mercury 10 Aug 1917, p2 col7.
News has been received by Mr and Mrs Thomas Dorsett, of Rose Cottages, Brickiln Street, Brownhills, that their son, Driver George Dorsett (20), Royal Field Artillery, was killed in action on July 23rd by a shell whilst taking ammunition up to his guns. Dorsett enlisted on April 15th 1915, and has been at the front a little over two years. He was recently home on furlough. He is well known in the district. Two of his uncles are serving with the colours in France. Messrs George and Joseph Dorsett, both of whom are well known in football circles, having played for West Bromwich Albion and Manchester City. The deceased’s father was also a prominent player with the old Brownhills Albion Football Club. Previous to enlisting Driver Dorsett was employed at the Conduit Colliery. The Chaplain writes that Driver Dorsett was killed while taking ammunition up to his guns along a very dangerous road. “He was a courageous and true British soldier, and gave his life for his country, and in your sorrow you must always feel immensely proud of that. He suffered no pain from his wound. I am to express to you the general regret of his comrades, both officers and men, and their sympathy for you in your loss and sorrow.”
Registers of Soldiers Effects:
To father Thomas E £5 5s 11d and a war gratuity of £11.
Driver.99729, 18th Div. Ammunition Col., Royal Field Artillery.
Died Aged 20 Tuesday 24th July 1917 Brownhills, Staffordshire.
Son of Thomas Edward and Annie Maria DORSETT of Spring Cottage, Lichfield Road, Brownhills.
Remembered with Honour – Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial and St James Church War Memorial, Ogley Hay, Brownhills.
Body never found.
I suspect little more is to be found out. As far as I can tell there were no specific actions on Tuesday 24 July 1917, just the routine attrition of men and equipment. As he is commemorated on the Menin Gate, I assume he would have been in the Ypres salient. As for the address, I imagine the local paper probably got the right street.