George Vincent MOTTRAM
Rank: Private
Number: 4882
Unit: 1/4th Battalion South Lancashire Regiment
Date of Death: 11 September 1916
Age: 26
Cemetery: London Cemetery, Longueval, Somme, France

George's grandfather was the well known civic dignitary, Alderman Ramscar. George's father, Thomas Mottram, had married Emily Ramscar in a civil ceremony at Stockport in 1877. The families were Roman Catholics and, at that time, Catholic churches were not licensed for marriages.

In 1901, 54 year old Thomas and his family were living at 208 Shaw Heath. He was a grocer. Thomas and Emily had nine children - Edith (24), Sarah (23), Alfred (21), Charles (19), Emily (18), Thomas (17), Mary (15), George (10) and James (6).

George attended St Thomas' School and worked for Stockport Corporation's Cleansing Department, before being promoted to the Rates Department. In his spare time, he played for Stockport Lacrosse Club. He later married Annie and they lived at Countess Street,,Stockport.

George volunteered for the army in April 1916 and went overseas in the August. At the time, they had one child and Annie was pregnant with their second. The baby would not be born until November - by which time George was already dead.

11 September was a quiet day for the South Lancashires. In fact, a look at the history books shows it was "all quiet on the western front". The Battalion had just finished a tour of duty in the front line and "A" and "C" Companies were resting in reserve. "B" Company had been temporarily attached to another unit and "D" Company was working on improvements to part of the trench system at "Delvil Lane", near the village of Longueval in the southern part of the Somme battlefields held by the British. It was still dangerous and the men working will have been within range of German artillery. What happened during the day is not recorded but four men were recorded as being "missing". They may have been hit by artillery fire and buried or the trench may have collapsed, but no trace of them could be found. One was George.

There was still no trace of him by February 1917 and the War Office made an official presumption that he must have been killed. Most of the graves at London Cemetery were made after the War, when the battlefields were cleared as the land was returned to civilian use. By then, few were able to be identified, but George must have been carrying something which had survived being in the ground for well over two years.

In the early 1920, Annie had moved and was living at 47 Commercial Road, Hazel Grove.

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