George Alfred Senior Craven was born at The Bryn, Industry Road, Darnall, Sheffield in Yorkshire on 13th April 1895 the only son of Bertha Craven [née Senior] and David Craven. His sister, Iva was born in 1892. George’s father was railway carriage manufacturer.
Whilst at Wellington College1 George also served within the Officers Training Corps [OTC] and when he left in December 1912 trained as a Locomotive Engineer with the North Eastern Railway.
On 8th February 1915 George applied for a commission within the 2/3rd West Riding Brigade, Royal Field Artillery; a territorial Force contingent. Although he suffered from myopia the medical officer considered him suitable for military service provided he used his spectacles.
On 12th March 1915 George was duly commissioned as a Second-Lieutenant with the 2/3rd West Riding Brigade which came under the orders of 62nd (2nd West Riding) Division of the Army. The following month he attended a course on telephones, one-man range finder and gun equipment at the Royal Artillery barracks in Woolwich, SE London.
The units of the 'second line', the 2nd West Riding Division, remained in England for some considerable time after the outbreak of the war. They were hampered in their training by a considerable lack of equipment of all sorts, in addition to which, when the men were considered to be ‘fully trained’ they were drafted to the 'first line' units on the Western Front.
Between May 1915 and 1916 the units of the Division moved around a lot until June of that year when they ended up between Lowestoft, Wangford, Flixton Park, Bungay and Somerleytown. It was at this time that George received his promotion to First-Lieutenant.
He finally arrived in France with his Brigade in January 1917 and was located in an area between the rivers Canche and Authie.
On the morning of Sunday 15th September 1917 First-Lieutenant George Alfred Senior Craven, Z/62 Trench Mortar Battery, Royal Field Artillery, was severely wounded during the course of a raid and died of his wounds the same evening whilst receiving treatment in 2/2 Northumbrian Field Ambulance. He was 22 years of age and was buried in the St. Martin Calvaire British Cemetery, St. Martin-sur-Cojeul in France.
The raid commenced with strength of 4 officers and about 40 other ranks: at its end 1 officer and 6 other ranks were left standing.
The Battalion War Diary2 described the chain of events leading to George’s demise.
'Y/62' and 'Z/62' trench mortar batteries were lent to the 50th Division for a raid to be carried out on September 15, 1917. The field guns and trench mortars provided a box barrage, the latter putting their contributions at each side, while the field guns shelled the enemy's support trenches. The positions were in a little-used trench about 150 yards behind the British front line, opposite Cherisy. This trench had previously suffered very little from the German barrage, and it was expected that casualties there would be slight. The wire was not cut from any of these positions, and guns not even registered from them. The first portion of the raid was carried out from 4pm to 4.40pm and was completely successful. The trench mortars were receiving about 75 percent of the total German Barrage, and casualties were so heavy among Z battery that they were unable to man their guns for the full length of time. Lieut. G. A. Craven was so severely wounded that he died the same evening, and most of the men either killed or wounded.
The Royal Field Artillery is perpetuated today in the Royal Artillery with whom it was re-amalgamated in 1924.