George RILEY
Rank: Private
Number: 8826
Unit: 4th Battalion King’s (Liverpool) Regiment
Date of Death: 16 March 1915
Age: 19
Cemetery: Cabaret Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez, Pas de Calais, France

George was named after his father, a railway wagon inspector. When George, senior, married Augusta, they set up home in the Pendleton area of Salford and their first child, Mary, was born there. By the mid 1890s, the family was living in Clayton and Harold had been born about 1894, followed by George about two years later. The 1901 Census showed the family had moved to Stockport and was living at 123 King Street West. There was a new addition to the family - one year old William.

As he grew up, George was a member of Stockport Lads' Club and, after leaving school, went to work for the National Telephone Company on Prince's Street. Harold appears to have joined the army as a regular soldier and was sent to France when War was declared on 4th August. He was almost certainly serving with the 1st Battalion, Cheshire Regiment and was captured on 24 August, the day after the Battle of Mons.

George was also destined to have a short war. In March 1915, The 4th Battalion had been finishing its training in Edinburgh and arrived in France on the 6th. George died of wounds he received in action and, as such, it cannot be known for certain when he received them. However, as he is buried quite close to where the Battalion was, it can be assumed that it was probably no more than two days before he died (otherwise he was likely to have evacuated to a field hospital).

On the 13th, the Battalion was in reserve trenches near Neuve Chapelle. The Battalion's War Diary records that 9 soldiers were wounded. The next day, the men were subjected to heavy artillery fire and a further 13 were wounded. On the 15th, the Diary records "Heavy shelling all day and night". Three men were killed and another 14 wounded.

On the 16th, which is the most likely day that George was wounded, it can be seen that the Battalion is becoming used to the dangers of trench warfare. The Diary records only "Shelling and rifle fire as usual. 9 Other Ranks wounded." George will have been buried close to where he died but this was not Cabaret Rouge Cemetery. This was not started until 1916 and was greatly expanded after the War when over 100 very small front line burial areas were closed as the land was returned to civilian use. Bodies were moved to Souchez where the graves are now tended by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

   
           
   
     
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