George Onions is believed to have been born in Bilston, Staffordshire 2 March 1833. The 1901 census reveals him, at the age of 18, to be working in Abersychan (Monmouthshire) as an assistant to an analytical chemist. He enlisted at Sale (Cheshire) and served in the 3rd Hussars Reserve Regiment and 3rd King's Own Hussars, cavalry regiments. He seems to have been attached to the1st Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment in Belgium and France as an infantryman later in the war. His rank in 1918, at the time of the act of heroism for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross, was Lance-Corporal.
This was his citation in the London Gazette for 14 December 1918:
"For the most conspicuous bravery and initiative south of Achiet-le-Petit on 22 August 1918, when, having been sent out with one man to get in touch with the battalion on the right flank, he observed the enemy advancing in large numbers to counter-attack the positions gained on the previous day.
Realising his opportunity, he boldly placed himself with his comrade on the flank of the advancing enemy and opened rapid fire when the target was most favourable. When the enemy were about 100 yards from him, the line wavered and some hands were seen to be thrown up. Lance Corporal Onions then rushed forward and, with the assistance of his comrade, took about 200 of the enemy prisoners and marched them back to his company commander.
By his magnificent courage and presence of mind, he averted what might have been a very dangerous situation."
He was later promoted to the rank of Major and saw service in the Auxiliary Division of the Royal Irish Constabulary.
George Onions died on 2 April 1944 and was buried in Quinton Cemetery, Birmingham. His Victoria Cross is on show in the Military Museum of Devon and Dorset in Dorchester.