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© Barns Green - A Local History of The Great War 2014
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George Frederick Fuggles (1891-1915) – LCpl 14856 Royal Marine Light Infantry George   Fuggles    was   the   middle   of   three   sons   born   to   William   and   Mary   Elizabeth   Jane   Fuggles who moved to Christ’s Hospital in 1904. William   was   a   Navy   man   and   George   followed   in   his   father’s   footsteps   and   joined   the   Royal   Marine Light   Infantry   as   a   Boy   Bugler   on   the   2 nd    October   1905   aged   15   having   already   started   work   as   a telegraph messenger. On   reaching   the   age   of   18   George   was   promoted   to   Private   and   in   the   1911   census   he   is   serving   on the   sloop   HMS   Cadmus   in   the   South   China   Seas.   Two   years   later   he   was   promoted   to   Corporal   and was posted to HMS Formidable. HMS   Formidable   was   the   lead   ship   of   her   class   of   pre-dreadnought   battleships.    In   1912,   she   was assigned   to   the   5 th    Battle   Squadron   and,   following   the   outbreak   of   WW1,   the   squadron   conducted operations   in   the   English   Channel   and   was   based   at   Sheerness   to   guard   against   a   possible   German invasion. The   sinking   of   HMS   Formidable   on   the   1 st    January   1915   resulted   in   the   death   of   George   Fuggles and 546 others from a crew of 780. The   5 th    Battle   Squadron   had   spent   31 st    December   participating   in   gunnery   exercises   off   the   Isle   of   Portland.   After   the   exercises,   that night the fleet remained at sea on patrol although submarine activity had been reported in the area. With   rough   sea   conditions   and   the   wind   increasing,   submarine   attacks   would   have   been   difficult   to   carry   out   and   so   were   not   thought to   be   a   significant   threat.   HMS   Formidable   was   at   the   rear   of   the   squadron   off   Portland   Bill   when   in   the   early   hours   of   1 st    January   a torpedo   from   U-24   struck.   It   was   thought   that   the   ship   might   be   saved   by   reaching   the   coast   but   the   ship   began   to   list   heavily   and Captain   Noel   Loxley   gave   the   order   to   abandon   ship.   Darkness   and   worsening   weather   made   it   difficult   to   get   the   men   and   boats   over the   side,   with   some   small   boats   being   thrown   into   the   water   upside   down,   then   about   half   an   hour   later   HMS   Formidable   was   struck by   a   second   torpedo.   In   heavy   seas   the   boats   were   launched   and   two   light   cruisers   came   alongside   and   managed   to   pick   up   80   men   in the   deteriorating   weather.   By   5am   the   ship   was   in   imminent   danger   of   capsizing   and   a   few   minutes   later   rolled   over   onto   many   of   the men   in   the   water   and   sank   quickly.   Captain   Loxley   remained   on   the   bridge   along   with   his   Fox   Terrier   Bruce,   overseeing   the   evacuation of the ship. Although   many   of   the   men   who   died   are   buried   in   the   churchyard   of   St   Marys,   Burton   Bradstock   on   the   Dorset   coast,   George’s   body was never found and he is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial. He is remembered on the War Memorial in St Nicholas Church, Itchingfield and on the family grave in the churchyard. He was awarded the 1914/15 Star, the Victory and British War Medals for his services.
The Fallen