Wetherby War Memorial - The Great War 1914 - 1918

Private George Riley Precious (Wardle)

Gunter, R B N
Durrant, C M
Weston, C G
Kelly, K G
Armitage, G J
Durrant, H M L
Hargreaves, J P
March, G
Dukes, W
Fowler, R
Westerman, H
Kirk, J C
Wiggins, T A
Telford, G
Harper, J W
Alexander, H W
Mason, T F
Wilkinson, W
Brown, C
Adkin, J
Barton, F
Hobman, A
Webster, A E
March, E A
Miller, G
Hannan, E
Utley, G
Walker, F
Bygrave, E W
Chapman, E
Varley, N W
Bowen, F J
Byrom, F
Backhouse, S
Dalby, M
Crossland, A
Crossley, J S
Dean, R
Frost, A E
Hodgson, F H
Holt, J
Hood, W H
Hill, W
Kitchen, T
Linfoot, E
Metcalfe, J C
Marsden, J
Pawson, W
Precious, G
Scutt, T G
Wiggins, J
Walker, E
Wood, A
Young, T
Pratt, W
Taylor, H
Dawson, G W
Lister, J
Binge, T
Atack, G
Durham, E F
Precious, G R
Wheelhouse Smith, W
Backhouse, H
Swann, J W
Burnsides, G A
Coles, W
Kelly, H W
Miles, J G
Tapsell, K

24th Battalion (Tyneside Irish), Northumberland Fusiliers
Died 9th April 1917

Cemetery : Roclincourt Valley Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France
Grave Reference or Panel Number : II.A.14

Son of Thomas Edward and Elizabeth Precious (nee Wardle) of St. James Street, Wetherby.
George Riley Wardle was born at Wetherby in 1894 to parents Thomas Edward Precious, a Railway Porter, and Elizabeth Wardle.
Recorded as George Riley Wardle by the Registrar of Births, it is apparent that George was born illegitimate, his parents not marrying until the  year of 1899. The 1901 Census records that at this juncture he was residing with his Grandmother, Hannah Wardle, a widow, in the next door property located in St. James Street.
By the year of 1911, the family is recorded in the census details as still residing in premises located in St. James Street and that Thomas Edward was now employed as a Plumbers Labourer. Two further children had also been born, Annie Elizabeth in 1904 and Margaret (Maggie) in 1909 respectively. This census also records that the couple had been married for 12 years and that four children had been born, two were still living and that two had unfortunately died. An analysis of both birth and death records reveals that three infants died by the surname of Precious and their deaths registered at Wetherby; David, born 1899, died, 1900, Annie, born 1901, died 1901, and William, born 1903 and died in 1903. Of George Riley, there is no record of him residing in the family home. One George Precious however is recorded in the census working as a Farm Servant on the farm of one William Escritt at Kirkby Grange near Tadcaster. One discrepancy though is that his age is recorded as 19 years and to compound matters further, his place of birth is virtually impossible to decipher. 
Enlistment & Mobilisation
George Riley Precious attested for military service at Wetherby Town Hall on or about the 31st August 1914. The terms of his enlistment were that of a Short Service Obligation i.e. three years service with the Colours. The majority of men who enlisted on this date at Wetherby were destined for service with the 9th (Service) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment, however as the men were numbered, some were allocated to different battalions of the Regiment. Possibly due to aquiring the skill of handling a horse, George was posted upon immediate mobilisation to the Depot of the West Yorkshire Regiment and allocated the serial number 11900 and subsequently posted to the Transport Section (Authors note: Subsequent posting recorded to the latter in a newspaper article dated April 1917).
Service is now somewhat ambiguous however an analysis of surviving documents suggest a possible posting to the 6th Battalion of the Training Reserve and a subsequent renumbering. On or about the 8th December 1916, George was posted overseas and subsequently posted to the 31st I.B.D. (Infantry Base Depot/Detail) located at Etaples near Boulogne. After a short period of training in various types of warfare and the ever present marches and drill, he was posted to the 24th (Service) Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers, on or about the 23rd December 1916.
Commemoration Under Construction