Hurstpierpoint honours Sergeant with headstone


A sergeant has been honoured by a community 157 years after fighting bravely in India.

Colour Sergeant George Waller was awarded the Victoria Cross ‘for conspicuous bravery in the Indian Campaign, firstly in Delhi on the 14th of September 1857 in charging and capturing the enemy’s guns near the Cabul Gate, and again, on the 18th of September 1857 in the repulse of a sudden attack made by the enemy on a gun near the Chaudney Chouk’.

He returned to England and died 20 years later.

At the time of his death he was living in the workhouse in Cuckfield. His body was returned to Hurstpierpoint as he lived in Townfield Cottages, the parish workhouse until its closure in the 1840s.

He was buried in a pauper’s grave in Holy Trinity Churchyard in 1877. His wife lived in Townfield Cottages until 1889.

For years there have been efforts to mark his bravery since the award of the Victoria Cross, and to erect a headstone over his grave.

Ian Nelson, local historian of Hurstpierpoint and members of the Royal British Legion, the Royal Greenjackets, the British Legion Riders Group and members of the Holy Trinity church community worked together on the project.

Three local firms of funeral directors designed and paid for a headstone, and 137 years after his death it was dedicated by Reverend Jane Willis.

It was described as ‘a simple and very moving ceremony’ in Holy Trinity Churchyard.