George Henry R Purnell
George Henry R[owles?] Purnell was born in Gloucester in 1894 to George Henry Purnell, a bootmaker, and Eliza Mary née Rowles. The Rowles were an established family of seafarers in the Newnham, Arlingham and Frampton area; Eliza was born in Newnham at Quay Cottage and was the aunt of Richard William and Francis Edwin John Rowles. It is unclear when George's father died, and why Eliza, her children and mother were recorded in Ross-on-Wye in 1901. Eliza was certainly widowed by 1911 and living in Gloucester with some of her children and her mother. George has not been identified on the 1911 census so may have been at sea, but his eldest sister, Sophia, was a housekeeper to their great aunt, Mary Ann Rowles, in Frampton, and it is this connection which seems to lead to George's inclusion as a Frampton serviceman.
It would appear that George served in the Territorial Force, probably having volunteered for home service only as he was embodied into the supply train of the 61st (2nd South Midland) Division, which was initially part of the Army Reserve. He seems to have been posted to the Army Service Corps and given the rank of private, but later specialised as a driver. It is likely that he would have gone to France with his Division in May 1916, following which its first major engagement was the disastrous diversionary offensive at Fromelles when it suffered very heavy casualties without causing any diversion of enemy forces from the Somme. After that the 61st Division was used only to hold the line until 1917, when it was ordered to pursue the German Army as it withdrew to the fortified Hindenburg Line. It then captured the towns of Chaulnes and Bapaume.
On 3 June 1917, perhaps during a 'quieter' period between battles, George Henry Purnell was killed by enemy shell while proceeding with a supply convoy to the railhead at Arras, a colleague receiving a fatal shrapnel wound on the same duty. He was interred at the CWGC Faubourg D'Amiens Cemetery in Arras and is commemorated in Frampton, on both the war memorial and the plaque in the village hall. George was posthumously awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal and was among the fallen who were remembered at a memorial service at St Mary's on 17 June 1917.