Private, D/5022, George Arthur Buck – Survived the War

1st The Royal Dragoons

The 1st Royal Dragoons Cap Badge, similar to the one which would have been worn by George Buck.

Biggleswade Chronicle – 22 January 1915

Extract from the above publication :-

A Biggleswade Dragoon’s Narrow Escapes

Trooper George Buck, of the 1st Royal Dragoons, who was reported to have been killed in November; wrote home to his parents, Mr and Mrs Buck, of 1, Benson’s Row, Biggleswade, under date of January 11th. He says :- “I received the parcel safe and hope you are all in the best of health as it leaves me the same. I will tell you the reason that they reported me killed. It was on the 13th November, our regiment lost 58 horses during one afternoon in a camp we had occupied for nine days. I was left in charge of the horses, when a shell burst one yard from where I was laying under some straw. Rather lucky for me, as two other chaps that were lying next to me were blown to pieces and I helped to gather up the remains next day. I had my own rifle blown away, but I escaped with a twisted neck. When I came down the lines the next morning, one of the officers was asking if they had found my remains. Previous to that I was hit by shrapnel, but not much, only a slight bruise. Since then they have started telling me I am a cat with nine lives. One horse was shot under me. Never mind, do not worry, cheer up and look on the bright side of it and all being well I shall be home for a short spell later on.” In concluding his letter he says: “I should like to tell you all my history out here but time won’t allow.”

Biggleswade Chronicle – 28 May 1915

The following is an extract from the above publication :-

A Royal Dragoon’s Narrow Escape

Trooper George Buck of the Royal Dragoons who has three times been slightly wounded and on one occasion was reported by another Biggleswade man to have been killed in action, writes home the following cheery letter to his parents at Shortmead Street, Biggleswade, under date of May 17th. He says :- “Many thanks for your letter received today. Pleased to hear you are in the best of health, as it leaves me in the pink only a bit shaken up after our set to on the 13th of this month. We were attacked at half past 3 in the morning and it lasted three hours. We lost 170 men then they found it was impossible to break through our lines so they shelled up until 8 o’clock at night. It was perfect hell. There was men going up in all directions. I came through without a scratch only to get hit by shrapnel the next day, but not much to speak about. Ernest (the writer’s brother, a sergeant in the same regiment) was not in that lot he was left behind with the horses in billets. The only thing that kept my pecker up was having a smoke when it was over, as I received some from Dot the same morning as the attack, only just had time to read the letter. I should be glad of some more as we share alike on these occasions, so you see whatever comes does not last long. I had not time to pack Dot’s parcel away so I put it on a hook on my coat and when it was over a bit I found to my surprise a bullet had gone right through it. Not very good for our health when they come so close as that, but that’s better than inside. The reason I sent a card was because I had no paper, so please put in a sheet and envelopes in each letter when you write. We are having decent weather now only a shower of rain at times, but on the fatal 13th it poured, but never mind cheer up and don’t get downhearted, look on the bright side of things because they will never come off best. Very pleased to say I put some of them off the line and would have done more only they take to their heels when we get close to them. Now I must close. Cheer oh. Still going strong. – George.”

Biggleswade Chronicle – 8 February 1918

Wounded After Three and a Half Years Fighting

Private George Buck of the Dragoons has written home saying that he has been wounded in the foot and is booked for Blighty. He has served throughout the whole of the war, being mobilised as a reservist at the outbreak. He has had some thrilling experiences on the Western Front and many narrow escapes.

Men of the 1st Royal Dragoons at Ludgershall Camp, after returning from overseas in 1914. They were joined with the Household Cavalry in the 7th Cavalry Division. Copyright: © IWM (Q 71672)

Further Military and Civilian Research

  • George Arthur Buck was born on 27 July 1885 at Upper Caldicote, Bedfordshire.
  • He was to join the 3rd Volunteer Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment on 21st February 1903 at Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, his service number given as 4644. He was shown as being 17 years old and working as a Labourer. He was described as the following :-
    • Height – 5’6″
    • Weight – 115lbs
    • Chest Measurement – 32-34 inches.
    • Complexion – Fresh
    • Eyes – Brown
    • Hair – Black
    • Religion – Church of England
  • He is shown to transfer to the 6th Dragoons on the 8 June 1906, there is no trace if or when he left the service before the Great War.
  • At some point he either transferred to or enlisted into the 1st Royal Dragoons, following his elder brother Ernest into the regiment, he was given the number D/5022.
  • During the Great War George Buck moved to France / Flanders on the 8 October 1914.
  • As the above news article specifies, he was injured several times, early in the war and again later towards the end. Unfortunately his Service Records have not survived.
  • 6 February 1918 – George Buck, 1st Dragoons, admitted to Dundee Red Cross Hospital with a wound to his foot.
  • 6 March 1918 – He is transferred from Dundee to Glamis Castle, Perthshire.
  • 19 March 1918 – Discharged from Glamis Castle.
  • 22 May 1919 – George Buck completed his terms of service as was discharged.
  • In his letter home referring to the attack by the Germans on the 13th May 1915, this is corroborated by reading the Regimental Diary (which is too large to copy here) which confirms the regiment was under a huge bombardment and attack on that day which the diary states the regiment sustained 28 killed in action or died of wounds, with 100 wounded and 8 missing. This Diary is available online with The National Archive at Kew, London.

Conflicting Information

There are two Medal Index Cards for George Buck, one under the name of George A Buck and the other under the name of Arthur J Buck (The J seems to be a mistake, sounds similar to G). It would appear he may have called himself with his middle name, something pretty common at the time which has caused some confusion in his records. As the above news article says, he calls himself George, his brother however refers to him as Arthur George Buck in Ernest’s Service Record which does survive.

Family

George Arthur Buck was born on 27th July, 1885 at Upper Caldicote, Bedfordshire. The following family information is taken from the 1891 Census and his Service Record from 1903.

His family is shown as follows :-

  • Father – Charles Buck, born c.1860 at Upper Caldicote, Bedfordshire – Farm Labourer
  • Mother – Mary Ann Wheatley or Buck, born c.1857 at Old Warden, Bedfordshire.
  • Sister – Caroline
  • Brother – Herbert Henry Wheatley Buck, born c.1878 at Upper Caldicote, Bedfordshire – Fram Labourer.
  • Sister – Ethel, born c.1881 at Upper Caldicote, Bedfordshire.
  • Brother – Ernest James, born c.1883 at Upper Caldicote, Bedfordshire.
  • Sister – Hilda, born c.1891 at Upper Caldicote, Bedfordshire.
  • Sister – Florence
  • Sister – Maude
  • Sister – Daisy

Addresses

  • 1891 – 204 Rose Lane, Biggleswade, Bedfordshire.
  • 1903 – Cemetery Street, Biggleswade, Bedfordshire.
  • 1915, January – 1, Benson’s Row, Biggleswade.
  • 1915, May – Shortmead Street, Biggleswade (Parents Address).
  • 1939 – 31 Potton Road, Biggleswade.

Medals

George A. Buck was awarded the 1914 Star with Clasp and Roses, Victory and the British War Medals for his service in the Great War.

Memorials

George Buck was not killed during the war so he is not remembered on any war memorial.

Links to Additional Information

References

  • Medal Index Card.
  • Medal Index Card.
  • Medal Roll – Corps of Dragoons – Victory and British War Medals.
  • Medal Roll – Corps of Dragoons – 1914 Star.
  • 1891 Census.
  • 1939 Register.
  • England and Wales Marriges 1837-2005.
  • Dundee Archive, Red Cross Hospitals Dundee and Angus.

Groups

Contributors:-

  • Vincent Stuart
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