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Collingwood sailor’s new book reveals forgotten Marine’s life

14 November 2017
A sailor based at HMS Collingwood has revived an overlooked slice of history with a new book highlighting the career of Royal Marine Lieutenant (Lt) George Cutcher.

Engineering Technician (Weapons Engineering)1 Richard M Jones specialises in researching and documenting forgotten historical events so was intrigued when a colleague showed him his great-great grandfather’s World War One diary.

Offering to scan the fragile document and get it bound for the colleague to give as a family Christmas present, Richard realised he wanted to know more about Lt Cutcher especially when he was told of the impressive collection of memorabilia amassed by him over his long life.

In July 1896 George Cutcher was on his way to join the Royal Navy when a Royal Marines officer persuaded him to enrol in the Marines instead. 

I’d have loved to have met him, I think he’d have had a lot more stories than I’ve written but I’m proud to say his life is now remembered forever.

Engineering Technician (Weapons Engineering)1 Richard M Jones

From there, after basic training at Deal Barracks, George began his career at Spit Head during Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee Review of the Fleet.

After serving on several ships across the world, George finally ended up at Dartmouth as a Physical Training Instructor where he managed to save the life of the future King Edward VIII during the latter’s over-ambitious gymnastic display!

In July 1915 George served in the Gallipoli Campaign where British Forces alone lost over 21,000 men.

Evacuated in January 1916 and promoted to Lieutenant, in June of that year George was then sent straight to another challenging combat zone – the Somme, where he took part in the Offensive.

With his mental and physical health deteriorating, George was finally invalided back to the UK in March 1917 and ultimately left the Forces. 

Keeping his links to the sea, he became attendant of the Time Ball Tower at Deal which, at the time, was an essential aid to marine time-keeping and began his own Freemasonry Lodge – the Globe and Laurel Lodge, globe and laurel being the symbol of the Royal Marines.

He was unable to fight in World War II but instead wrote letters to those who’d suffered in combat, drawing on his personal experiences of the stresses of war to raise morale and hope.

George retired in 1962 and died aged 87 in February 1967.

Richard Jones launched his new book about George’s life “The Diary of a Royal Marine, The Life and Times of George Cutcher” at a recent event in Gosport, attended by members of George’s family.

His book is available from [email protected] and all profits will go to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, RNRMC.

Speaking of George Cutcher, Richard said, “I’d have loved to have met him, I think he’d have had a lot more stories than I’ve written but I’m proud to say his life is now remembered forever.”

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