Private Henry George Tupper

Regiment: Royal Navy, No 1 Water Tank Company, Army Service Corps.
Service No: M2/139047

Date & place of birth: 3rd qtr 1888 at Midhurst
Date & place of death: 25 October 1918 (aged 30) near St Quentin, northern France

George Tupper was part of a large local family with Royal Navy connections, although he served in a non-combatant role with the Army Service Corps.

Family background

Henry George Tupper (known as “George”) was born in mid–1888 at Midhurst, the first of two sons born to Henry George Tupper (1862–1945) and his wife Annie Elizabeth née Phillips (1865–1955). His parents had married the previous autumn; by the time of the 1891 census, the family (including the second son, Frederick) were living at Treyford, where the father was employed as an agricultural labourer.

Ten years later, the family were living at Redlands Farm in Elsted. In the spring of 1910, George married Elizabeth Ellen Jenkins (known as Ellen) who was born at Horsham in 1889. The couple settled at Fitzhall Cottage, near Iping Common where George was employed as a gardener, aged 22 at the time of the 1911 census, while his parents were living nearby in Ingrams Green Lane.

Military service

George’s military service records are lost, so it is not known when he enlisted, although the available records show that this was in Horsham. He joined 646 Company, Army Service Corps which became No 1 Water Tank Company in January 1916.

The Army Service Corps included four water tank companies in its line-up; each had eighty-nine 150 gallon and sixteen 500 gallon tank lorries in addition to lorries for purification plant and spares. The water tank companies’ role was to ensure a plentiful supply of safe drinking water to the soldiers on the front line. An extensive system of water mains was installed, pumping water from springs, boreholes and rivers.

Although not serving in a combatant role, nearly 13,000 members of the Army Service Corps were killed during the war.

Death & commemoration

The grave of Private Henry George Tupper at Vadencourt British Cemetery, Maissemy
The grave of Private Henry George Tupper at Vadencourt British Cemetery, Maissemy

George Tupper was killed near St Quentin in the Aisne department in Picardy in northern France on 25 October 1918.

He is buried in Vadencourt British Cemetery at Maissemy, about three miles north-west of St Quentin and is also commemorated on the Trotton war memorial.

Other family members and subsequent family history

George’s uncles, William Tupper (1867–1928) and John Tupper (1874–1948) had both served in the Royal Navy although they had retired before the start of the war.

George’s widow Ellen remarried to Herbert John Perry at Dunsfold on 26 July 1930; she died at Cranleigh, Surrey on 3 March 1938.

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project