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George Pearsall - Briefly in 22nd Motor Machine Gun Battery

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At least one member of 22nd Motor Machine Gun Battery was not destined to sail to India with his comrades 103 years ago. Instead he was to travel to the battlefields of northern France as one of the very first tank commanders. Herbert George Pearsall, known as George, was born at Smethwick on 17 July 1888. When war broke out George enlisted at Dewsbury on 6 April 1915 and joined the Motor Machine Gun Service at Bisley on 14 May. He was promoted corporal on 18 June and then serjeant on 14 August 1915 with 22 MMG. Whilst still on their unit strength, he applied for a commission on 1 Jan 1916. After completing officer training at Cambridge George Pearsall was commissioned into the Machine Gun Corps on 14 April 1916. He then joined D Company of Heavy Branch Machine Gun Corps, deployed to France with them and was commanding tank D11 Die Hard at Flers on 15 and 16 September 1916, the first occasion on which tanks were used in action. George earnt a Military Cross in the process. He remained with tanks for the remainder of the war, including Cambrai, which he survived, only to die from Spanish Influenza on 19 March 1919, 100 years ago today.




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