served in South Africa from April 1900 to the end of hostilities.
Picture courtesy of Spink
QSA (3) Cape Colony, Transvaal, Wittebergen (1881 Pte. G. Cordwent, 2:Rl: W: Kent Regt.);
KSA (2) South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902, (1881 Pte. G. Cordwent. Rl. W. Kent. Regt.);
Royal Humane Society Lifesaving Medal, bronze, Successful (Private G. Cordwent, Royal West Kent Regt., 29th: July, 1890.), with top riband buckle
Royal Humane Society Case No. 24972.
George Cordwent was born in Charlton and joined the 2nd Battalion, Royal West Kent Regiment at Maidstone in April 1887, having already seen service with the 4th Militia Battalion.
He was awarded the Royal Humane Society Lifesaving Medal in Bronze for a Successful Act, this being for an incident at Portland on 29 July 1890.
Cordwent was then posted to the 1st Battalion out in India in December 1891 and was discharged in April 1899.
A member of the Supplementary Reserve, he was recalled in October 1899 and posted to the 2nd Battalion out in South Africa in March 1900. Present on operations in the Cape Colony and the Transvaal, including Wittebergen, he served through to the end of the war, and was posted home in August 1902, and discharged in September 1903.
Cordwent latterly lived in Willesden, where he worked as a horse van driver for the railway. He died in July 1943.
QSA (3) Cape Colony, Orange Free State, South Africa 1902 (6123 Pte. H. H. Flegg. Rl: W. Kent Regt.)
Henry Harry Flegg was born at Lewisham in 1882 and was labouring in a brickyard and also serving with the 3rd (Volunteer) Battalion, Royal West Kent Regiment upon his enlistment on 12 March 1901. Having served in South Africa during the Boer War, his medal was issued in September 1903. Flegg remained in service but his health began to fail. He died of Hodgkins Disease and heart failure on 24 August 1909.
QSA (4) Cape Colony, Orange Free State, South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902 (5794 Pte G Richards. Rl. W. Kent. Regt);
1914 Star (L-5794 Pte. G. Richards 1/R. W. Kent R.);
British War and Victory Medals (L-5794 Pte. G. Richards. R. W. Kent R.).
George Richards served in France with the Royal West Kent Regiment from 11 September 1914. Having transferred to the 6th Battalion, he was killed in action on 3 July 1916 and is buried at Ovillers Military Cemetery.
The Regimental History takes up the story of that fateful action:
'Much of the German wire had escaped destruction by the earlier bombardment, and the two salients to be attacked by The Queens and the Battalion respectively were separated by a stretch of uncut wire 300 yards long, while an even longer belt to the left of the Northernmost salient, the one which the battalion was attacking, put an extension of the attack to that flank out of the question. The Royal Fusiliers, who were opposite this frontage, were told off to give covering fire from rifles and machine-guns, and a smoke barrage had been arranged for the protection of this flank, but the prospect of enfilade fire was a serious menace.
After the failure of the supports to reach the German second line the survivors of the attack put up a most gallant fight to retain their gains in the front line. Their position was precarious and isolated. The Queens, on the right, had come up against uncut wire, in front of which they were mown mercilessly down, only a handful getting through into the German trenches. Thus the 6th were without support on the right and were soon hard pressed on that flank, while on the left a strong point at the junction with the communication trench held up C Company's bombers. They were cut off from reinforcements by the enfilade fire of the machine guns which swept No Man's Land'.
Despite capturing the German trenches and the Colonel's explicit orders that the ground taken must be held at all costs, the casualties were so high they had no choice but to leave their hard-won gains. The losses had been terrible: 617 Officers and men had gone into action - 375 of them became casualties.