Pte Gerald Warren 2/4th Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment

Pte Gerald Warren 4th Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment

Pte Gerald Warren was born in Sandy, Bedfordshire on the 30th June 1898. The eldest of four children the family moved to Thornton Heath in Surrey where Gerald worked as a stencil cutter. Gerald enlisted in the 2/4th Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment on the 17th May 1915 when he was only sixteen years old. In January 1917 the battalion moved to Arish for operations in Palestine. On the 25th March at 3.30 am they took part in the 1st Battle of Gaza when the 160th Brigade started to cross Wadi Ghuzzee. Shortly afterwards, fog began to roll in from the sea, slowing the advance, but the attack began shortly after 11.45. By 13.30 the brigade had captured ‘The Labyrinth’, a maze of entrenched gardens, and by 18.30 the whole position had been secured. But events had not gone so well elsewhere, and the 53rd Division was ordered to pull back. By the 27th March it was back on its starting position behind Wadi Ghuzzee.

There followed a pause of several months while the EEF was reorganised. The 3rd Battle of Gaza involved outflanking the Gaza–Beersheba line, after which 53rd Division was sent on the 3rd November to take the heights of Tell Khuweilfe. 160th Brigade moved up a slight valley on the right, but found the enemy in strength, and holding the water supplies. The attack was renewed unsuccessfully the following day. The division kept up the pressure on the 6th November, and eventually the Turks were forced to evacuate the position after being outflanked elsewhere. By early December the EEF was working round Jerusalem. 2/4th Queen’s, ordered to capture the hills at Beit Jala on 8 December, advanced under accurate shellfire, but found the position unoccupied. The city fell the following day.

On the 21st December 1917, the 160th Brigade carried out a minor operation near Jericho. At 05.00 three companies of 2/4th Queens captured a Turkish post, and the Turks fell back to ‘White Hill’. A company of 2/4th Queen’s, together with one of 2/10th Middlesex Regiment, took this position after fierce close fighting with bombs, bayonets, and clubbed rifles. Gerald was killed in this action aged 19 years old. He is buried in Jerusalem War Cemetery. His parents chose the inscription on his grave that said “He Died That We May Live In Peace.”

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