George Warren's grave

Leicester Fosse & The First World War: George Warren

Private George Warren was the seventh Leicester Fosse player to be killed in action in the First World War.
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Born in Burton upon Trent in 1881, the son of Frederick and Louisa Warren, centre-forward George made two appearances for Burton Swifts in 1898 in Division Two of the Football League. He signed for Leicester Fosse from Hinckley Town for the 1903/04 season, scoring seven goals in his 21 appearances. In the years leading up to the First World War, apart from a short spell at Second Division Stockport County, George played for various sides outside the Football League including Hinckley United (twice) and Nuneaton Town. 

On the outbreak of war, George was living at 4½ Well Lane, Hinckley.

In February 1917 he joined the Army Service Corps (later called the Royal Army Service Corps). The Corps’ function was to supply food, equipment and ammunition to the vast armies serving on many fronts. Using horses, motor vehicles, railways and waterways the logistical support they provided was vital to the War effort.

The Army Service Corps was organised into companies, each fulfilling a specific role. Some were attached to Divisions of the army.

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Chris Wood at Victoria Park
Chris Wood at Victoria Park

Former City striker Chris Wood holds up a photo of George Warren's name at Victoria Park in 2014.

Only three months after enlisting, George was killed on the Western Front on 16 May, 1917. When he was killed he was with the 2nd Battalion of the York and Lancaster Regiment. This was part of the 16th Infantry Brigade, which itself was part of the 6th Infantry Division.

The 2nd Battalion spent the whole of the First World War in France. After participating in the Battle of the Somme in 1916, it was sent a few miles to the north to the Loos Salient, not far Vimy Ridge, early in 1917. The Loos Salient had been the scene of devastating British losses in the autumn of 1915, with over 60,000 casualties. 

When George joined the Regiment in early 1917 this sector of the line was relatively peaceful.

However, the day after the Canadians finally captured Vimy Ridge on 12 April, 1917, his battalion then saw more action.

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Philosophe Cemetery Mazingarbe
Philosophe Cemetery Mazingarbe

George is buried in the Philosophe Military Cemetery at Mazingarbe which is very close to Loos and not far from Vimy Ridge.

On 13 April, 1917, it was ordered to pursue the Germans as they withdrew to their new defensive positions along the Hindenberg Line. By nightfall the 2nd Battalion of the York and Lancaster Regiment had occupied the German positions in front of them.

Despite actions elsewhere along the Western Front, George’s sector of the front then became relatively quiet again, but not quite enough to prevent him being killed only a month later.

He is buried in the Philosophe Military Cemetery at Mazingarbe which is very close to Loos and not far from Vimy Ridge.

In October 2014 a party from Leicester City Football Club paid its respects at George Warren’s graveside in the beautifully kept Philosophe Cemetery.

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