Penarth Dock, South Wales - 150 years - the heritage and legacy  
Penarth Dock, South Wales - the heritage & legacy . . .

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Volume Eight - Pre-Victorian to the present day - more aspects - George Wehrley - Photographer . . .

He served in the Royal Garrison Artillery (service number 44210) and the 2nd Battalion, the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He joined the Royal Welsh Fusiliers (service number 31174) as a Private and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant.

George was killed in action on 22nd December 1916 aged 26 and is commemorated on Pier and Face 4 A., Thiepval Memorial.

From Army records – Civilian occupation given as shop assistant. George Wehrley is described as being 5ft 10ins tall, weighing 119lb and with an expanded chest measurement of 34ins. He had a fresh complexion, blue eyes and dark hair.'

The entry for George within the Commonwealth War Graves Commission - Graves Registration Document - Index No. M. R. 21 Thiepval Memorial Part XLVII.
The entry for George within the Commonwealth War Graves Commission - Graves Registration Document - Index No. M. R. 21 Thiepval Memorial Part XLVII. [394]

Wehrley or Wherley ? : Alien or British National ?

I pondered if the spelling of George's surname was a typo or had been deliberately amended by George, or perhaps by the establishment, in order to prevent his German parentage from being too obvious to his army comrades.

The sights and experiences of the troops, both of the British Forces and of those of Germany, within the WWI trenches were unimaginable but what of George's personal thoughts and trauma? How on earth do you stand up and fight against your parent's countrymen? I find this story to be truly fascinating and haunting.

An example of the paranoia prevalent at the time is a letter published within the Penarth Times [101] during November 1914 and penned by 'Fairplay' which stated:-

'Some German aliens are still in our midst. Some are educated and some are not. The highly educated alien is of more danger to the public than the less educated.'

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