George Pragnell was born in the late autumn of 1880 in Overton, Hampshire, to Uriah Pragnell, a cattle farmer, and Sarah née Faddis. By the mid-1880s the family had set up home in The Street, Frampton, where Uriah engaged in a variety of occupations including gardener, butcher and newsagent and, in 1901, vermin destroyer. They later moved to Splatt Lane. George's employment record was also varied for before the war he worked successively as a confectioner and breadmaker, farm labourer and then a cowman; however, by 1916 he was a munitions worker.
On 28 March 1916 he went to Stroud to enlist, being posted to the 15th (Service) Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment. He was sent to Warwick for training where a medical examination revealed that he was only 4 ft 11 in tall, poorly developed (331/4 in chest), had defective hearing, and suffered from both bronchitis and asthma. As he was below military height and chest measurement, and his disabilities were considered permanent and specifically stated as not being due to intemperance or misconduct, he was discharged on 29 May as 'Not being likely to become an efficient soldier' (i.e. medically unfit). His Army conduct was formally recorded as 'Very Good'. However, George was listed as an absent military or naval voter in The Street in 1918 and the spring of 1919, which may indicate that he was re-conscripted under the Military Service (Review of Exceptions) Act of 1917; in view of his medical condition, his service would almost certainly have been limited to such light duties as sentry, storeman or clerk in the UK. It is commemorated on the plaque in the village hall.
After final demobilisation he appears to have lived with his mother, Sarah, until her death in 1922. He was recorded on the electoral registers for a few more years but local people recall that he became one of a few homeless people fed regularly at the back door of Buckholdt House by a kitchenmaid. George Pragnell, of no fixed address, later found work as a night watchman for a building firm engaged in repairs on maisonettes in Stonehouse, but died suddenly on 20 March 1948. He was buried in St Nicholas' churchyard, Standish, five days later.