George Edward Randall was born in 1892 in Norwich. He was the son of Charles William (a merchant) and Emma Randall. Most of his time in Woodford was spent at the family home, “The Hollies”, Grove Hill. George was educated at Sidcup College. The family later lived at “Barton Bendish” Alderton Hill, Loughton, the address given in his Probate.
He was employed in his father’s business as MD of the Hamburg Branch and Director of C.W Randall & Co Ltd in London. He was a Communicant member of the Parish Church and he was also active in the Young Peoples Guild.
George joined the London Scottish on the 15th June 1914 and volunteered for foreign service when the war began. He was sent to France with the first contingents of Territorial Soldiers on 15th September 1914.
He was killed in action at the Battle of Messines Ridge, where his Battalion fought its first engagement of the war, which was also the first engagement by any Territorial Force unit. On the 31st October 1914, George’s regiment was told to ‘dig in on the Ridge’, but they were bayonet-charged by the enemy. In fierce hand to hand fighting the Battalion held their ground, driving the enemy back from their trenches; so halting the German advance to the coastal ports. The cost was great: by 2nd November 1914 there were some 400 casualties, 88 of whom were dead. George Randall was killed during what would become known as the legendary charge of the London Scottish.
On 20th June 1915 at the 11am Sunday service, a stained glass window was unveiled in his memory at the St Mary’s Parish Church, South Woodford. Although the window was damaged by fire in 1969, a compilation was made of the original fragments and is now on display.
He is also commemorated on the Loughton War Memorial, and the St John the Baptist Church Roll of Honour.
Research by Adrian Lee, Local Historian
Commonwealth War Graves Commission