George Edward Nurse VC

b. 14/04/1873 Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. d. 25/11/1945 Liverpool.

George Edward Nurse (1873-1945) was born on 14th April 1873 in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Ireland, the son of Charles Nurse and Jane Nurse. His mother hailed originally from Guernsey in the Channel Islands, so the family soon moved back there to run a hotel. After a course of higher class education at the Chamberlain Academy, Guernsey, he joined the Royal Artillery, enlisting at St George’s Barracks, London in January 1892.

George E Nurse VC

He served in London until May 1897, and proceeded with the Royal Artillery to South Africa for the outbreak of the Second Boer War in early 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 Heights, he fought through almost the whole four colonies, from Durban on the east to the relief of Mafeking on the north-west. He was present at the Battle of Colenso, where he would be recommended for, and awarded the Victoria Cross (London Gazette, 2nd February 1900).

At Colenso on the 15th December, 1899, the detachments serving the guns of the 14th and 66th Batteries, Royal Field Artillery, had all been either 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 hook a team into a limber, went out; and 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. George Nurse helped Congreve.

Nurse was presented with his VC just over a month after his gazetting on 4th March 1900 by Lieutenant-General Sir Redvers Buller VC at Ladysmith. Nurse served throughout the remainder of the Boer War campaign, before returning to England. He later served as a Temporary Second Lieutenant during the Great War. He married Kathleen A Nurse, and they had one son, Charles T Colenso Nurse.

Nurse moved in later life to Liverpool, and died in Broadgreen Hospital, aged 72 on the 25th November 1945. He was buried in Allerton Cemetery, Liverpool in the Church of England section. His medals are held by the Royal Artillery, though sadly their Museum in Woolwich has recently closed, so the medals are in storage.