In 1901, George was living with his parents, Joseph and Margaret, at 17 Small Street, Stockport. His older sister, Mary, had married John Ellsmore in the late summer of 1897 and was no longer at the family home. George received his education at St Philip and St James Catholic School, Edgeley and then worked in a cotton mill (where, in1901, his job was as a throstle spinner).
He emigrated to Australia in about 1913. He had been married but it is thought his wife had died and this may have prompted him to think of starting a new life. He settled in the state of Victoria where he worked as a farm labourer. He enlisted into the army at Melbourne on 28 January 1916, originally being assigned to the 10th Battalion. His service papers show him to be very short, even for those times, standing at just less than 5 feet 3 inches. He weighed 130 pounds and had a 33 inch chest. George was of a dark complexion with brown eyes and black hair. The examining doctor noted he had a scar on the back of his neck and moles on his neck and right buttock.
On 23 March 1916, he transferred to the 22nd Battalion. After initial training, he went to England as part of large draft of replacement troops and, on 23 November, he went to France on active service. By now, he had again been transferred and was serving with 3rd Australian Trench Mortar Battery.
His final transfer took place on 7 September 1917, when he joined the Howitzer Battery, which was one of five batteries which made up 8th Brigade. The howitzer fired 4.5 inch calibre shells weighing 35 pounds and could fire the shells nearly 7 kilometres. Their main use was to destroy trenches and other fortifications. The location of artillery positions was generally known to the opposing side through use of aerial observation, and they would regularly shell each other. The Battery's War Diary makes no detailed mention of the period between 12th and 14th October, except to confirm that they were at Zonnebeke, to the north east of Ypres and that, during the period, 4 men were killed (including George on the 14th).