Finding a relative on the Western Front
Dawn and Geoff Harwood were surprised to find that they had a relative buried at Vignacourt British Cemetery. They recognised him as family by his home town and his unusual surname. Geoff and I sat together after dinner last night and using the memorial's website and databases we were able to uncover a little bit more about George Radnell.
Private George Radnell enlisted in Tarnagulla, VIC on 19 January 1915 and joined the 14 Battalion AIF. He saw service at Gallipoli but suffered badly from dysentery and spent many months out of action recovering. He was unable to rejoin his unit until the 22 January 1916. On Gallipoli the 14th Battalion became known as "Jacka's mob" and following the withdrawal the unit returned to Egypt. Radnell rejoined his unit in Egypt and was promoted to Lance Corporal in March 1916. The 14th went on to the Western Front in June 1916 and here were engaged in bloody trench warfare until 1918.
The 14th's first major action in France was at Pozières in August 1916. During this battle on the 28th of August George was wounded from a gunshot wound to the chest. He spent some time in England recovering from his injuries and rejoined his unit in January 1917. At his own request he reverted to a private in May 1917.
The 14th Battalion spent much of 1917 in Belgium, advancing to the Hindenburg Line. On 26 September 1917 during the 3rd battle of Ypres, George was involved in a battle near Zonnebeke. It was during this battle that he was awarded the Military Medal for displaying "great courage and initiative by getting together a party of 7 men and rushing an enemy post in which were 10 Germans killing four and taking the remainders prisoner."
George was wounded in action on the 31st May and later died of these wounds on the 1st June 1918. He was only a boy of 15 when he enlisted. The engraving on his headstone says that he celebrated his 16th birthday at Gallipoli.