George Weller was born in Watford, Hertfordshire on 5th November 1887. He was the youngest son of Mr W S Weller and Mrs E J Weller, and brother to Owen, Philip and Adrian. He was educated at Milton House School, Watford and Watford Endowed School (later Watford Grammar School) after which he attended University College School. From there he went to Glasgow University where he obtained his BSc (Engineering), graduating in 1908.
He was a very fine athlete who enjoyed cricket, soccer and rugby. On 29th July 1905 he won the Public Schools Championship 100 yards race in what was then the record time of 10.6 seconds. Later he also won the Scottish Universities contest in 10.4 seconds. After leaving university he undertook a year’s engineering tuition with the London and North Western (LNW) railway engineer for the Euston to Crewe line and stayed on for a further six months on an unpaid basis. In 1910 he was taken on as a trainee works manager for the Cassell Cyanide Company, Merryhill, Glasgow.
At University in Glasgow George had been a member of the OTC. Later, when working on the London and North Western (LNW) Railway and living in Watford in 1909, he joined the Royal Engineers Cadets and attended their summer camp on Salisbury Plain that year. He joined the Highland Light Infantry (Territorials) - probably in 1910. On 1st June 1914 he married Annie Connell Davison, known as “Connie”, the wedding taking place at Fullerton W F Church, Irvine.
On the outbreak of war George joined his regiment, the 7th Highland Light Infantry, and was placed in charge of the Maxim machine guns. In due course he was promoted to take command of the machine guns of the 157th Infantry Brigade, with the rank of Lieutenant, in which capacity he was serving in May 1915. The regiment was at that stage based in Dunfermline and was part of the 157th Brigade, 52nd Lowland Division.
The regiment was ordered to Gallipoli and, on 26th May, sailed from Plymouth on the Transylvania. They reached the Dardanelles in early July via Gibralta, Malta and Egypt. On the 3rd July, they disembarked at Cape Helles on the Gallipoli peninsula and two days later moved forward to the firing line and support trenches. They were relieved by the 5th Highland Light Infantry on the 9th July and went to rest camp, returning to the front line on the 11th July.
On the 12th July, George Weller’s regiment took part in an attack on the Turkish lines. They advanced under heavy shrapnel, machine gun and rifle fire, and managed to take their objectives, enabling them to occupy three lines of Turkish trenches. They worked through the night consolidating their gains, the regimental war diary noting that this was difficult owing to the number of dead and wounded in the trenches. Crucially, they had also discovered that on reaching the third of the Turkish lines the trench was merely a shallow depression which proved extremely problematic to defend. Early on the morning of 13th July they came under counter attack from Turkish forces and suffered heavy casualties when the line was raked with machine gun fire. George Weller was killed in the fighting at some point this day.
Captain George Herbert Weller has no known grave but is commemorated on the Helles Memorial, Turkey. He is also commemorated on the Great War memorial plaque at Watford Grammar School for Boys. Weller was posthumously recommended for mention in despatches. Although there is no mention of the award being made, his citation read;
"For untiring energy in the selection of the positions for the MG in the attacks and for continual reconnaissance of the captured trenches and selection of fresh positions. This officer was killed on reconnaissance.
Biography written by Peter Holloway.