Dawson-Damer, George Seymour

2nd Lieutenant / 10th Hussars

1892 - 1917

George Seymour Dawson-Damer was born 30 July 1892, the son of the Earl and Countess of Portalington.

He came to Winchester College from Mr. Worsley's school at Hillingdon in September 1905. He was in G House, Sergeant's. In his last year, 1910, he was a Commoner Prefect and played in Lords XI as wicket keeper. In W R Lyon's The Elevens of the Three Great Schools 1805-1929, published in 1930, he says of Dawson-Damer: 'It seems that he had never received any cricket coaching until that year; however, under very good instruction, he became possessed of quite good defence, and in foreign matches played several steady not-out innings, his average being 13.4...    Two correspondents describe him as a most loveable soul and a very charming fellow'. 

George went to New College, Oxford, in 1910 and at the outbreak of war joined the Dorset Yeomanry. He served with them through the Gallipoli campaign, holding the rank of Captain, and was afterwards transferred to the 10th Hussars where he dropped rank to that of 2nd Lieutenant. He was killed in a cavalry charge at Monchy, near Arras, on 12 April 1917.

A photograph of his gravestone can be seen here: http://twgpp.org/information.php?id=2474638

Cavalry charges were rare in the First World War and even rarer on the Western Front by 1917. On 11 April 1917, during the advance from Arras, 8 Cavalry Brigade was ordered to advance mounted over open country to occupy high ground east and north east of Monchy-le-Preux near Arras. During an advance by the Essex Yeomanry, followed by 10th Hussars, the leading two troops were mown down crossing a ridge. An eye-witness, Robert Lindsay of 11th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, records: 'At one period of the day, I think it was late in the afternoon, the cavalry came up behind us, at a gallop. They got up almost to our trench, but the Boche gave them (and us) such a hot time of it that the poor fellows had to turn and gallop back. This was the only time I saw cavalry in battle. On our part of the line, it was a failure, because of lack of surprise, machine gun fire, and the nature of the ground. On our right they did better, but had severe losses... but I don’t think they had been sent up early enough. The slaughter of men and horses, right from the Scarpe Canal to Guémappe was appalling'.  For 18 hours the Essex Yeomanry and the 10th Hussars occupied Monchy against determined German attack. It is almost impossible to quantify the numbers of men and horses killed on 11 April but in both cases it runs to thousands.

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