George MINSHULL
Rank: Driver
Number: W/5616
Unit: 18th Battery, 3rd Brigade ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY
Date of Death: 18 September 1918
Age: 21
Cemetery: Doiran Memorial, Greece

George appears to have been a very late addition to the Minshull family. His parents were Samuel and Mary Jane and, in 1901, they were living at 80 Old Road, Stockport. George was just four but he had two older brothers at home – 19 year old Samuel and 12 year old Ernest. Samuel was a successful local shopkeeper and, by the time of the War, they had moved to a better home at Cobden Mount, 158 Manchester Road, Heaton Norris.

Nothing is known of George’s early life except that he had furthered his education by attending the Lancashire Hill Sunday School. Both he and Ernest are thought to have enlisted into the army in 1914, just after War was declared.

The Artillery’s 3rd Brigade was in India in August 1914 and did not arrive on the Western Front until January 1915. George probably joined it around this time after receiving his basic army training. It stayed in France until October 1915 when it was transferred to the Salonika theatre of War in northern Greece. For the next three years, George and his comrades would face the Bulgarian army.

Arguably the most significant battle of the campaign took place on the day George as killed. It was later officially called the Battle of Doiran and it led an armistice being agreed with the Bulgarians on 30 September.

In the early part of the month, the Brigade had been in reserve undertaking training but over the night of 17/18 September, they started to move forward in conjunction with the British and Greek infantry. Around dawn, they reached a position recorded only as Barn Grove where the wagons and gun carriages were concealed under trees. While this was happening, it was observed that Greek infantry had captured enemy outposts and the commanding officer decided to move forward again. The Brigade’s War Diary records that the horse drawn vehicles advanced “at a trot” to Akindzali Wood. As they were moving up, they came under enemy shellfire. Reaching the agreed positions at the Wood, George and his mates manning the six guns of 18th Battery were first to open fire at about 8am.

For the next three hours, they kept up an intermittent shelling of the enemy but they came under increasing enemy retaliation with 18th Battery bearing the brunt of the fire and it was, almost certainly, during this period that George was killed. He has no known grave.

   
           
   
     
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