Lieutenant-Colonel George Henry FitzMaurice Kelly was born at Meerut in May 1869, the son of Colonel T.J. Kelly, Bey. After attending the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, he was commissioned into the Leinsters as a 2nd Lieutenant in January 1892 and transferred to the Indian Army a few months later.
Appointed to the 23rd Sikh Pioneers, he went on to witness extensive action on the North West Frontier, firstly with the Column sent to the relief of Chitral; secondly in the Tirah and Punjab Frontier Campaigns of 1897-98, including the operations in the Bara Valley in early December of the former year, and thirdly in the Waziristan operations of 1901-02 - his entitlement to the 'Samana 1897' clasp remains unverified. Advanced to Captain in March 1901, he next participated in the Tibet Expedition under General MacDonald, and was present at the action at Naini in addition to the final operations leading to the capture of Gyantse. Then in 1908, having gained advancement to Major, he fought against the Zakka Khels under Sir James Willcocks.
In October 1912 he became Second-in-Command of the 34th Sikh Pioneers and assumed command of the Regiment on the advent of hostilities in 1914, aged 44 years. Taking it to France that November, he was ordered on the 23rd to capture an enemy trench 'at all costs', and, leading his men, was one of the first to reach the enemy's positions. Last seen turning round to cheer them on, he was shot through the lungs by a German in the trench and died some 20 minutes later. One of no less than 17 Officers of the Regiment to be killed or wounded in that attack, his body was carried a distance of five miles by his men to the cemetery at Beuvry, where it was interred the following day in the presence of British and French Generals. But his sacrifice on behalf of the B.E.F. appears to have been last on the officials at the Medal Office, his P.R.O. M.I.C. entry clearly showing that his 1914 Star was never issued.