Contributed by: Gary Mills, on 2008-11-08
|Year of Birth||1898|
|Year of Death||1918|
|Regiment||Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment|
|Place of Wartime Residence||Rye House, Hertfordshire|
An ordinary young man who died for the freedom of his country in an extraordinary war. Extract from the war diary for the 4th Battalion, near Villers-Plouich, France:
'The patrol took what cover they could get in shell holes'
At 1am the quietness of the night was suddenly broken by a heavy bombardment, which was just to the North of us, near Margoing. Only a few shells fell anywhere near our sector but machine gun fire, which swept our front trench, was kept up while the bombardment continued.
Lieut A Hayes, with a party consisting of Sergeant Shearman and five men, left our trench at 4am to patrol No man's land. Owing to the state of the ground and the inter-section of old dis-used trenches which criss crossed one another in all directions with barb-wire and telephone wire which lay scattered about, patrols were forced to move on hands and knees. Going was slow and tedious, therefore, I was not disturbed when at 5am the patrol had not returned. At 5.20am Sgt Shearman and four men returned and reported that the patrol had been fired on at close range by a machine gun, that one man (Pte Wiggins) had been wounded and that Lieut Hayes was seen to fall when the machine gun opened fire.
This report worried me. I decided to send out another patrol under Sergeant Shearman, who volunteered to go out as he knew where the wounded man was. They returned just before daylight (6.30am) with Lieut Hayes and the wounded man. Hayes reported that when the MG opened fire the patrol took what cover they could get in shell holes, he crawled to the wounded man, who was some distance to the left, and whilst putting on a bandage lost sight of the remainder.
Private George A Wiggins, aged 19, died of his wounds three days later on 16th Jan 1918. He is buried at Mont Huon Cemetery, Le Treport, France. His mum, Rebecca, had a breakdown on hearing of her only son's death and never really recovered until she died in 1950.