Private George Bridger

George Bridger
© Westcott Local History Group

Thank you to Westcott Local History Group for allowing Dorking Museum to publish their First World War research.

George Bridger was born in 1886 in Pond Cottage, Ripley, the son of George and Mary Bridger who moved to Chapel Lane, Westcott in 1901 and later lived in St John’s Road. George was an agricultural labourer in civilian life until he joined the Regular Army in 1908 when he enlisted in the Worcestershire Regiment. He went to France with the 3rd Battalion on 12th August 1914 as part of the British Expeditionary Force (the BEF).

The Battalion advanced into Belgium in October 1914 and over the next 2-3 months fought several battles during the retreat from Mons. January and February 1915 were spent in the trenches north of the River Lys on relatively high ground facing the Messines Ridge, which was held by the Germans, or in billets behind the line about Locre or Dranoutre.

The conditions in the trenches were utterly miserable. The Regimental History records that ‘in that heavy clay soil the greater height of the land had but little effect on the drainage of rain-water and the trenches tended to dissolve into a welter of sticky slime. At one point in the line the muddy slush was so deep that the sentries had to be stationed in barrels which almost floated in the liquid mud. In those barrels they would remain marooned for the whole day.’ Battalions holding the line were regularly relieved. During January the reliefs could be made every four days, but in February the period had to be extended to seven days.

Sniping and shelling drew a steady toll of casualties and between the New Year and the first days of March, the Battalion lost nearly a hundred killed and wounded. We do not know when George Bridger was hit; he died of wounds on 18th February 1915 and is buried in Loker Military Cemetery, about 10 miles south west of Ypres.


Pte. George Bridger, of the 3rd Battalion Royal Worcester Regiment, son of Mr. George Bridger of Westcott, has died from wounds received whilst in action in action in Flanders. Pte. Bridger was 28 years of age and was sent to the front immediately after the outbreak of war. He was wounded in the arm and the ankle in November and came home to Westcott. Having completely recovered from the effects of the wounds he rejoined his regiment and was again sent to the western theatre of the war. He had been there a month when he was shot in the neck. Pte. Bridger, we believe, s the first Westcott man to be be killed in action. Miss Bridger, sister of Pte. Bridger, has received the following letter, dated Feb. 23rd from the

George Bridger Death Notice © Surrey Advertiser


3rd Royal Worcester,

who has died from wounds.

Rev. Harold T. A. Peacey, Chaplain to the military Field Ambulance, 3rd Division – “I am extremely sorry to have to write to tell you that your brother George, No. 7948, of the 3rd Worcester Regiment, was brought here about five nights ago, suffering from a severe bullet wound in the neck. He lived for a day and a half, but passed away peacefully on February 19th. I spent a lot of time with him, trying to comfort him and latterly to prepare him for death. He was very plucky and brave and bore his pain splendidly. He asked me to write and give you and all at home his love. He was buried by me on February 26th in the churchyard at Lochre, Flanders – about eight or nine miles from Ypres. A wooden cross with his name burnt in it marks the grave, I know it will be a great blow to you and just as he gave his life for others so now you are being asked to give up what was doubtless one of the dearest things in your life. God asks this gift of you and I like to think you will try to give it to Him ungrudgingly. God bless you and grant him everlasting rest.

George Bridger Death Notice © Surrey Advertiser

George Bridger Gravestone. Photo by kind permission of Stuart Bridger
Private George Bridger Medals. By kind permission of The Bridger Family.

George’s relatives have very kindly sent us pictures of his medals, shown above. We are very grateful to them. The medals are, from left to right, the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal. The reverse of the 1914-15 Star, bearing George’s name and regiment, is shown on the right. The other two medals bear his name on the rim.

Born Ripley, Surrey
Lived Westcott, Surrey
Son of George and Mary Bridger, St. John’s Road, Westcott
Regiment 3rd Battalion. Worcester Regiment
Number T/1247
Date of Death 18th February 1915
Place of Death Ypres, Belgium
Cause of Death Died of wounds
Age 29
Cemetery Loker Military Cemetery, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium
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