George HOGG
Rank: Private
Number: 26333
Unit: 7th Battalion King’s Shropshire Light Infantry
Date of Death: 13 November 1916
Age: 25
Cemetery: Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France

George was the second son of John and Mary Hogg. The family had lived at 66 Newbridge Lane, Stockport for many years.  The family's entry on the 1901 Census records that 48 year old John Hogg was a skilled man, working as a French polisher. They had nine children living at home - Florence (then 23), Jane (21), Thomas (20), Annie (17), Elizabeth (15), George (10), John (8) and Rose (5). There was also a 13 year old daughter whose name is illegible in the census record.

George worked as a cotton spinner at Palmer Mills &Co Ltd, Mersey Street, Portwood, until he enlisted into the army on 7 April 1916. When he joined up, he was assigned to one of the Territorial battalions of the Cheshire Regiment and given the service number 4679. This was probably the local 6th Battalion. After training, he went overseas and would have been expecting to be sent to join the Battalion's front line troops. However, it is known that a large group of Cheshires, who arrived in France in June and July 1916, were re-allocated to other regiments as these units were in greater need of replacement troops. This was, almost certainly, the reason for his transfer to the Shropshires.

If this is reason, then he possibly joined the Battalion on 21 July, as part of a group of replacements for those killed during an attack on July 14. His first experience of major action will have been on 19 August when the Battalion successfully captured a German trench with minimal casualties. The next day, they were shelled by German artillery but there were no fatalities.

After this, the Battalion moved into reserve, for a period of rest and to undertake training. Between 4th and 12th November, specific training was carried out for its part in the forthcoming Battle of the Ancre. 7th KSLI was to assault the village of Serre, one of a series of fortified strongholds that had prevented the British advance on 1 July. Artillery had been shelling the German positions since 11th November with the intention of cutting the barbed wire.

George spent his last night alive waiting for zero hour in the assembly trenches with his comrades. Conditions were appalling. The mud was so deep that ration parties took four hours to cross 1000 yards.

The Regimental history describes the attack "Thick fog was spread on the ground and at zero hour (5.45am), the morning was as black as the darkest midnight. In the pitch darkness and through deep mud, it was difficult for the best-trained soldiers to keep direction and the troops all along 3rd Division front lost touch. The heavy state of the ground on the 8th Brigade front made it impossible for the tanks to operate and they were withdrawn from the attack. About 8am, as it began to get light, a thick fog made conditions no better; and at eleven, when the fog began to clear, it was found that all units had lost direction and were hopelessly mixed." George was one of 53 soldiers of 7th KSLI to be killed in the attack. Alfred Chorlton was another. A further 150 were wounded.

The Captain commanding his company later wrote to Mr & Mrs Hogg "He died doing his duty fearlessly and faithfully and was well respected by his officers and comrades. You have our heart-felt sympathy for the loss of a good son and a splendid fellow and comrade to all in his Regiment."

(Original research into the attack for the Cheadle & Gatley War Memorials website)

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