b. 20/07/1891 Kennington, London. d. 03/05/1917 Pelves, France.
George Jarrratt (1891-1917) was born at Kennington, Surrey on 22nd July 1891. His father, Leviticus “Levi” Jarratt, had served as a sapper in the Royal Engineers at South Camp, Aldershot and was discharged on 19th April 1883. In 1891 he was a packer, and later an electrical engineer. He married Frances Cole on 24th October 1880 in Aldershot, and the couple settled in Lambeth, London. They had seven children including George between 1882-1896.
George was employed as a clerk at the Beefeater Gin distillery in Kennington and was also a scoutmaster. He enlisted in the Royal West Kent Regiment in 1914 and served in 12th (Reserve) Battalion until transferring to the Royal Fusiliers. There is no mention of his service in the Royal West Kent Regiment on his medal card. George married Gertrude Elkins in 1915, and she hailed from Slough, Buckinghamshire. She worked as a draper’s assistant prior to her marriage. George and Gertrude had a daughter, Joyce, born in 1916 in Wandsworth. George was posted to France on 21st March 1917, and only saw service for just under two months.
On 3rd May 1917 near Pelves, France, he had, together with some wounded men, been taken prisoner and placed under guard in a dug-out. The same evening the enemy were driven back by our troops, the leading infantrymen of which commenced to bomb the dug-outs. A grenade fell in the dugout, and without hesitation Cpl. Jarratt placed both feet on the grenade, the subsequent explosion blowing off both his legs. The wounded were later safely removed to our lines, but Cpl. Jarratt died before he could be removed. By this supreme act of self-sacrifice the lives of these wounded were saved.
George’s body was not recovered after the war, and he is commemorated on the Arras Memorial. The VC was presented to his widow and daughter by King George V outside Buckingham Palace on 21st July 1917. In addition to his VC, he was awarded the British War Medal 1914-20 and Victory Medal 1914-19. The medals were reportedly sold to the trustees of the Royal Fusiliers Museum by Gertrude in 1963 and are held by the Royal Fusiliers Museum, Tower of London. Gertrude re-married after her husband’s death to Ernest Pearce in 1921.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: ROYAL FUSILIERS MUSEUM, TOWER OF LONDON.
BURIAL PLACE: NO KNOWN GRAVE – ON ARRAS MEMORIAL, FRANCE BAY 3.
Thomas Stewart – Image of the Jarratt VC Medal Group at Royal Fusiliers Museum, Tower of London.
Paul Deeprose – Image of the Jarratt VC.
Mark Sanders – Image of the Jarratt VC Medal Card.