yeovil at War

George Frank Ostler

Killed in action on the Western Front

 

George Frank Ostler was born in the summer of 1896 in Yeovil to Ottilia (also known as Kate) Ostler (1876-1961) and an unknown father. In the 1911 census Kate and George were living with Kate's mother, Elizabeth Ostler, at 72 Kiddles Lane (today's Eastland Road). Kate gave her occupation as a leather glove manufacturer's machinist and 14-year old George was employed as an apprentice at the outfitting tailor's of John Vincent in Middle Street.

George later left Yeovil to work at Newbury, Berkshire. 

George enlisted at Newbury around July 1915, joining 8th (Service) Battalion, Princess Charlotte of Wales' (Royal Berkshire Regiment). His Service Number was 18392.

The 8th Battalion had been formed at Reading in September 1914 as part of K3 and attached as Army Troops to 26th Division. They moved to Salisbury Plain and returned to billets in Reading in November 1914, moving on to Sutton Veny in May 1915. On 8 August 1915 the battalion was mobilised for war and landed at Havre and transferred to the 1st Brigade of the 1st Division which engaged in various actions on the Western Front.

George joined his battalion at the Front around Christmas 1915. He must have been an exceptional soldier since despite being only 19 years old he was soon promoted to become a full Corporal.

The 8th Battalion did not take part in any fixed battles during the time George was in France, but simply endured the horrific day-to-day life of trench warfare. While fighting in the trenches George was severely wounded in both legs by an exploding shell. He was hospitalised but, sadly, died from his wounds on 24 February 1916. He was just 19 years old.

The Western Gazette, in its edition of 3 March 1916, reported "The death is reported at a base hospital in France, of Corporal GF Ostler, of the 8th Royal Berks Regiment, the sad intelligent being conveyed in a letter, from an Army Chaplain to his mother, who resides at 72 Eastland Road, Yeovil. From letters received by his relatives it seems that he sustained severe injuries in the legs through being struck by a shell whilst in the trenches. He joined the Army eight months ago, being at the time in employment at Newbury, and had been at the Front about two months. Before going to Newbury he was employed by Mr J Vincent in his outfitting business in Middle Street."

George Ostler was interred at Lapugnoy Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. Grave IE37, and his name is recorded on the War Memorial in the Borough.

 

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The Commonwealth War Graves Commission certificate commemorating George Ostler.

 

Lapugnoy Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. 

The first burials were made in Plot I of the cemetery in September 1915, but it was most heavily used during the Battle of Arras, which began in April 1917. The dead were brought to the cemetery from casualty clearing stations, chiefly the 18th and the 23rd at Lapugnoy and Lozinghem, but between May and August 1918 the cemetery was used by fighting units. Lapugnoy Military Cemetery contains 1,324 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, 3 being unidentified, and 11 from the Second World War, all dating from May 1940. The cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.