George originated from the Buxton area, where his father, Dominic, worked as a domestic gardener. When the census was taken in 1901, the family was living at Alma Street, Fairfield, near Buxton and comprised Dominic, his wife Emma, daughters Mary, Elizabeth and Gertrude and, of course, George.
By the time of the Great War, the family had moved to Stockport and George enlisted into the army in the town. They may have already been living at 92 Countess which was the family's address in the early 1920s.
George was one of the first to enlist when War was declared on 4 August 1914. He volunteered for the Cheshire Regiment and his service number, 11652, is consistent with him joining up in the middle of the month. At some point after going on active service, he was transferred to the Shropshires. This was probably after recovering from wounds or a lengthy illness. When he was fit enough to return to duty, the army will have decided that the Shropshires were more in need of replacements than his original unit.
21 August would later be designated as the first day of the Second Battle of the Somme (or the Battle of Albert, after the town at the centre of the area).During the evening of the 20th, the Battalion moved to assembly positions at Adinfer Wood near the village of Gommecourt in the north of the battlefield. Their objective was the Bapaume - Arras railway line and they had orders to reach and hold it at all cost.
Zero hour was set for 4.55am and, on schedule, "A" and "B" Companies led the Battalion's attack, followed by "C" and "D". There was a heavy mist which would make it difficult for the Companies to keep in touch with each other.
The Battalion's War Diary records that "a little opposition was encountered from machine guns west of Aerodrome Trench. These were silenced in passing." A German position known as "Coffee Redoubt" was strongly defended. The attacking company outflanked it and successfully attacked from the rear. It appears that one platoon got lost and simply carried on in a more or less straight line and became entangled with other units. It was not able to rejoin the Battalion until the 23rd.
By 7.30am, the men had almost reached their objective which was the railway embankment still strongly defended by the German. The Regimental History records that "The final assault was made with the bayonet, the enemy being driven out with great slaughter. Four German officers and many men were made prisoners. The objective reached, the Battalion proceeded to consolidate the line and to throw out outposts 150 yards east of the railway."