Private George Henry Saddington was the eldest son of Charles and Anne Saddington and was born in North Luffenham in the summer of 1891. He had four younger siblings. George served with the 1st Battalion Leicestershire Regiment. On 15 September 1916 the Leicestershire's were part of 71st Infantry Brigade which took part in an ambitious attack aimed at capturing Morval, Lesbouefs, Gueudecourt and Flers during the Battle of the Somme. The battalion war diary described what happened: "At about 5.50am two enemy aeroplanes appeared above us but did not stay long. About this time also a tank was noticed on our right moving quietly up to the enemy's front line. On arriving there he immediately opened fire with his machine guns enfilading the German trenches on either side. He was very heavily fired on by the enemy's machine guns which apparently had no effect." Zero hour was fixed for 6.20am. "The leading Companies advanced at the walk at 30 yards distance between lines. A heavy machine gun was immediately opened by the enemy. The support Companies followed in the same formation 300 yards in rear of last wave of leading Company." Things were beginning to go wrong. "The mist and smoke was terribly thick and allowed no observation by support Companies and Battalion HQ as to exactly what was happening...throughout the advance the battalion suffered very heavily from machine gun fire...and held up by very strong and undamaged wire in front of Quadrilateral [a German strong point]." The attack petered out and eventually the Leicestershires were forced to withdraw with casualties of 14 officers and 410 men killed and wounded, including four others from Rutland. George has no known grave but is remembered on Pier 3A of the Thiepval Memorial as well as on the memorial in North Luffenham Church.
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