George HARGREAVES
Rank: Private
Number: 50495
Unit: 10th Battalion CHESHIRE REGIMENT
Date of Death: 15 April 1917
Age: 38
Cemetery: Tancrez farm Cemetery, Ploegsteert, Belgium

George had been born locally and, in 1901, was living in Cheadle Hulme and working as a Railway Engine Stoker. The Census of that year suggests that his father was no longer living at the family home and had, possibly, died. His mother, Emily, was working a seamstress. He had three younger sisters - Ethel, 19 and Emily, 17 both worked as hat trimmers while Alice, 12,  was still at school.

The following year, between July and September 1902, George is believed to have married. He and his wife had two children and they lived at 48 Hyde Street, Stockport. He worked for Dean & Co, Stockport. The firm were leather dressers. He was a member of St Paul's C of E Church Men's Society.

George enlisted into the army on 12 August 1916 and went to the front on 3 January 1917.

Just over three months later, on 15 April, George was in the front line trench, "Long Avenue", in the Le Touquet sector, some 17 kilometres south of Ypres (now Ieper). At 7.45pm, the German artillery opened a heavy bombardment on the Cheshires' positions. After only a minute, the bombardment lifted onto the support trenches, cutting off the front line from any chance of re-enforcement. Under cover of this very accurate shelling, two small parties of Germans, each about 25 strong, jumped into the British trench. The raiding party threw grenades into the dug-outs and took seven men prisoner. They then ran back to their own lines. They had not been in the British position for longer than 5 minutes. The German artillery continued to bombard the Cheshires to cover their withdrawal and it did not stop until about 8.15.

George and Albert Ferns were amongst those killed by the shelling. Later, the chaplain wrote to Mrs Hargreaves "It is with the deepest regret and sympathy that I have to give you the sad news of the death in action of your husband which took place on the evening of Sunday, 15 April. Your husband was in the trenches when a shell burst near by killing him instantly. He can have suffered no pain. I buried him two days later in a little cemetery close behind the trenches and a handsome wooden cross is being erected over his grave, which will always be carefully looked after."

Details of the action on 15 April are taken from the book "Remembered" by P Clarke, A Cook and J Bintliff. It contains a photograph of George's comrade Albert Ferns.

   
           
   
     
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