George HALL
Rank: Private
Number: 20792
Unit: 22nd Battalion MANCHESTER REGIMENT
Date of Death: 15 July 1916
Age: 21
Cemetery: Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France

George was named after his father and, in later life, would earn his living in the same way - as a spindle maker. The local press reported, wrongly, that he enlisted into the army on 9 November 1915. George had actually joined the year before and this was the date that he and his comrades went overseas on active service. He had travelled into Manchester, probably in early November 1914, and enlisted into the seventh of the "Pals Battalions" being formed by the Manchester Regiment. He was assigned to No. 13 Platoon in "D" Company and some details of the Pals' recruitment and training can be found here.

His first experience of a major attack was on 1 July 1916 when he advanced towards Mametz on the first day of the Battle of the Somme - the "Big Push". Two weeks later he was back in action.

On the 14th, the Battalion moved back to Mametz and took up reserve positions in the nearby Wood ready for an attack the next day on German positions at High Wood. The attack would be led by the 1st South Staffordshires and the 2nd Queens.

Almost immediately, "C" Company was ordered forward to support the Staffordshires and, together, they made the first of a number of attacks to dislodge the Germans from their trenches. They managed to establish a foothold on the edge of the Wood but couldn't make further progress. About 11am, "B" and "D" Companies were also sent forward. All the troops were now coming under heavy machine gun fire from the flanks as the Germans in Switch Trench were still strongly in position.

At 2.30pm, the Germans opened a heavy barrage and then counter attacked with infantry, driving back the British troops. The three Companies of Manchesters now brought their strength and numbers to bear and recovered the lost ground. Late in the afternoon, the British made another attempt to push further into High Wood but this also failed. At 6pm, "A" Company came forward to support their comrades but it was clear that the attack had failed. The whole British line was withdrawn back to its original starting point at 11.25pm. Amongst the dead were George and another local man, Henry Holbrook.

   
           
   
     
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