Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1914, Lieutenant George Prescott Blackall-Simonds, 1st Battalion, the South Wales Borderers, was killed in action at Vendresse in France.
The only son of the sculptor George Blackall-Simonds, he was educated at Bradfield College near Reading, then went on to serve in the South African Wars as a railway staff officer, after which he received the Queen’s Medal with three clasps. He was called up in 1914 as a Reserve Officer and arrived at the front on the 19th of September that year.
On the day of his death, Lieutenant Blackall-Simonds was leading an attack at Vendresse during the Battle of the Aisne. He and his men were fighting hand-to-hand with the enemy, who had attacked them in a disused quarry. Lieutenant Blackall-Simonds was shot in the head and died almost instantly. His body was not recovered.
He is commemorated on the La Ferté-sous-Jouarre Memorial to the Missing in France, and is also memorialised in a stained glass window in the village church of St. Andrew in Bradfield, featuring St. George looking very much like the lieutenant. His father built the war memorial which stands in the village, honouring local men who died in the Great War, including his own son.
George, from Bradfield in Berkshire, was 33 years old.