George Grubb was born in Birmingham, but lived at Fairfield Cottage, Upper Welland Road, the son of Herbert Grubb, a tinman. He initially enlisted at Worcester and was posted to the Reserve Battalion of the 8th Worcestershire Regiment (the 2/8th Battalion) but was transferred and joined the 1/8th Battalion overseas.
In 1915, the 1/8th Battalion had spent Christmas Day in the trenches at Hebuterne, Somme, but on New Years Day the Battalion feasted and made merry. In the afternoon they played the 1/7th Battalion at rugby and won 10 – 0. However these celebrations were marred on the 3rd January when right hand trenches occupied by C Company were submitted to a severe shelling for over half an hour with 7.7cm, 4.2 and 5.9 inch shells. As the War Diary states:
“This resulted in 7 killed and 8 wounded thorugh the collapse of a large dug-out constructed by the French before British occupation of the line and owing to faulty construction it failed to withstand two direct hits. The collapse was due to cross beams not extending far enough beyond the uprights, the absence of wall plates to prevent the frames from shifting and the longitudinal roof beams being various lengths with the joints distributed over the length of the roof. The second shell hit the end of the central cross-beam dislodging it from its supporting upright so nearly half of the roof collapsed.”
Horace Smith of Evesham wrote: “Our first day in this time was a tragic one. The enemy bombarded out trenches heavily. Two big shells fell on a dug-out, in which about twenty men of ‘C’ Company were sheltering. Seven were killed and pinned beneath the wreckage in such a way that it was impossible to recover the bodies, eight were injured and are now in hospital.”
The other men to be killed in the dugout collapse were Ptes Mark Bolstridge, Joseph Briggs, Aubrey Hanks and Stanley Samuel of Birmingham and Sgt Harry Edwards and Pte Arthur Nokes of Bromsgrove. The first four all enlisted at Kings Norton and would have been members of the local Company there. Sergeant Edwards had been an original member of the new Territorial Force in 1908.
War Diary of the 1/8th Worcestershire Regiment: WFR RHQ
Evesham Journal and Four Counties Advertiser 8/1/16
Stevens Annual of 1914 Malvern 1914
Mr S Jervis 2007