George MCDERMOTT
Rank: Gunner
Number: 48068
Unit: 24th Trench Mortar Battery ROYAL GARRISON ARTILLERY
Date of Death: 3 June 1916
Age: 22
Cemetery: Dranoutre Military Cemetery, Dranouter, Belgium

George was born in the parish of St Mary’s Church, Stockport in the closing months of 1893. His family home was at 144 Newbridge Lane, Portwood and worked locally for cotton spinners, Palmer Mills Ltd, Mersey Street.

He enlisted into the army at Stockport and was assigned to the artillery. Trench mortars were a new weapon of war, designed for the new circumstances of trench warfare. They were fired from very close range and were used against targets such as enemy machine gun posts, sniper positions and the like. Because of their success, they quickly became targets for the enemy artillery opposite.

South of the Belgian town of Ypres (now Ieper), there had been several weeks of fighting around a position known as The Bluff. It had been captured by the Germans in February and was retaken by the British on 2 March. George and his comrades were few miles further south than this and were not directly involved. It has not been possible to find the Battery’s War Diary at the National Archives but it is reasonable to suppose that they will have been in action firing to pin down the German troops so that they could not move north to counter attack at The Bluff. The firing will have continued into the next day. His officer later wrote to his mother “We looked on your son as one of our bravest men and best gunners. His death was instantaneous and, to the last, he was coolly and bravely firing his gun. Accept my sincere sympathy in this your sad bereavement.”

   
           
   
     
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