Nurse, George Edward

1899, Battle of Colenso

NURSE, GEORGE EDWARD, Corporal, was born at Enniskilling, Ireland, son of Charles Nurse and Jane Nurse, of Cobo Hotel, Guernsey. After a course of higher class education at the Chamberlain Academy, Guernsey, George Nurse joined the Royal Artillery, enlisting at St George's Barracks, London, on 6 January 1892. He served in London till May 1897, and proceeded to South Africa in December 1899. His unit was commanded by Major W Foster, under Colonel Long, with General Hildyard in brigade command. Besides the first battle on the Tugela, he fought through almost the whole four colonies, from Durban on the east to Mafeking (Relief) on the north­west. He was awarded the Victoria Cross [London Gazette, 2 February 1900]: "George Edward Nurse, Corporal, 66th Battery, Royal Field Artillery. At Colenso, on the 15th December 1899, the detachments serving the guns of the 14th and 66th Batteries, Royal Field Artillery, had either been killed, wounded, or driven from their guns by infantry fire at close range, and the guns were deserted. About 500 yards behind the guns was a donga, in which some of the few horses and drivers left alive were sheltered. The intervening space was swept with shell and rifle fire. Captain Congreve, Rifle Brigade, who was in the donga, assisted to limber up a gun. Being wounded he took shelter, but seeing Lieutenant Roberts fall badly wounded, he went out again and brought him in. Captain Congreve was shot through the leg, through the toe of his boot, grazed on the elbow and the shoulder, and his horse shot in three places. Lieutenant Roberts, King's Royal Rifle Corps, assisted Captain Congreve. He was wounded in three places. Corporal Nurse also assisted". "I got hold of some loose horses and hooked them into the limbers, Lieutenant Roberts holding my horse meanwhile. Just after we started Lieutenant Roberts was shot. When we got to the guns, through a tornado of rifle bullet and shell, one gun had the spade clamping gear jammed. I ran to another gun, and with Captain Schofield's help limbered it up, then ran back to the former gun, found the pin, and managed to limber it up myself. When we were out of bullet-range I met Captain Reed and four teams, but they were bowled over at the drift at 500 yards' range". The 'Times' of 23 September 1915, says: "The London Gazette announces the appointment as Temporary Second Lieutenant of George Edward Nurse, VC". After the war he was on the cleaning staff at the Liverpool Custom House. He died at Liverpool on 25 November 1945, aged 72. He was buried at Allerton Cemetery, Liverpool. His wife was Kathleen A Nurse, and they had one son, Charles T Colenso Nurse.

VC, QSA, 1914-15 Star, BWM, VM, 1911 Coronation Medal, 1937 Coronation Medal.

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