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2nd Lieut George Archibald Colin Lomas DCM
Died: 22 May 1916 aged 28



Born in 1888, to the Reverend Charles Lomas and his wife Kate, George was their second son of four children.  Born in Andover, we know from his father’s history that they moved every few years as his father served as a Primitive Methodist Minister and so, by the time George was 16, the family had moved four times.  In 1915, Reverend Lomas and his wife were posted to Church Stretton where they remained until 1918.

Lomas mother photo.jpg
Lomas father photo.jpg

We have no pictures of 2nd Lieut. Lomas but these pictures of his parents are taken from the 1915 Primitive Methodist magazine.

George is recorded on the war memorial of Goldsmiths’ College in London as he was a student there between 1908 and 1910.  At the time the College was primarily a teacher training college which fits with the 1911 census.  It records George as living at 3 Fermor Road with William Roberts and his wife and their two daughters.  George’s occupation is recorded as a “Certified Teacher” as is one of the daughters.  Perhaps they worked together or had been students together?  In December 1914, Goldsmiths College produced an alumni magazine that recorded George had enlisted as a Lance Sgt. with the 20th London Regiment.

By 9th March 1915, George was with 2/20th (Blackheath and Woolwich) Battalion of the London Regiment at Givenchy.  This was a battalion that was largely made up of men who had volunteered for home service so George possibly hadn’t expected to find himself on the front line.


It was during the second battle of Artois and the smaller battle of Festubert (15-25 May 1915) that Sgt. Lomas found himself on the front line in circumstances that led to him receiving the Distinguished Conduct Medal:

#1683 Sjt. G.A.C. Lomas, 20th County of London Bn. (Blackheath and Woolwich)TF.  For conspicuous gallantry on 25th-26th May 1915, at Givenchy.  When all the men of his platoon, with the exception of seven, had been killed, he held a trench on the right of another Battalion, and successfully repelled three counter-attacks of the enemy"  


Lomas Medal.jpg

During the battle of Festubert, 16,000 British soldiers lost their lives.  A member of the Post Office rifles, another division of the London Regiment, wrote “I must say that during the last few days we have lost nearly half the battalion also losing six officers and several suffering with slight wounds and nervous breakdowns. It was heart-breaking to see the boys return from the trenches, the boys were knocked to the wide, and some platoons who numbered about 61 men only about 14 left in some cases” 

  [][©The Postal Museum, 2018]


On 12th November 1915, Sgt Lomas was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant with the London Regiment. 


By May 1916, the 2/20 London Regiment were part of the battle of Vimy Ridge which was one of the offences of the Battle of Arras.  It was a sector important to the German army as it gave them access to mines and factories.  The following report describes the circumstances leading to George Lomas’ death on the 22 May.


“The 20th Battalion was holding the right of the 141st Brigade line, including the craters, and joining the 140th Brigade at Ersatz Alley. The top of this communication trench had been the centre of the bombardments, and was practically obliterated. The right company (A Company) held up the first attack, Captain Young directing the rifle-fire in the Hne.  After a fight they were driven back into the support trench.

Captain Young was able to bring the three platoons of A Company back over the top with very little loss owing largely to the very gallant action of Sec-Lieutenant Lomas, D.C.M., the Battalion Lewis-gun officer.  The latter, by himself, took a gun into the open over the top of the support-line and covered the retirement of the company.  He was killed shortly afterwards.”


The same report goes on to say:

“The Vimy fighting cost us 63 officers and 2,044 other ranks killed, wounded, and missing.  At that price we were taught the necessity to arrange our defence in greater depth to meet new methods of attack with increased weight of artillery…. It seems doubtful now whether our risky position near the crest of the ridge was worth holding at such cost, when a strong position on the high ground near Cabaret Rouge, with the same observation from the Lorette Heights, was available. The magnificent spirit which refuses to yield to the enemy any ground, however useless, is worth much; but were the Higher Command justified in incurring the resulting losses?”


Sec. Lieut George Lomas is buried in the Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery.








Photos with kind permission of Englesea Brook Chapel and Museum of Primitive Methodism

Website of the London Irish Regiment

Thanks also to the Postal Museum.

Little Stretton, Church Stretton, All Stretton

Stretton WW1 Soldiers on War Memorials

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