George Edward ROSE
Rank: Private
Number: 22469
Unit: 7th Battalion King’s Shropshire Light Infantry
Date of Death: 25 July 1916
Age: 23
Cemetery: Abbeville Communal Cemetery, Pas de Calais, france

In the early months of 1892 Ernest Rose and Sarah Brownhill married at St Matthew's Church, Stockport. Two years later, George was born and he was followed by Harry and Emma. In 1901, the family was living at 32 Lark Hill Road and Ernest was working as a railway guard. They later moved to 194 Heaton Lane.

The family continued to worship at St Matthew's and George had been a member of the choir. He worked as a clerk for F Ferns & Co in the Gorton area of Manchester. When War was declared in 1914, George tried to join the army but was rejected as being unfit. He made several more attempts but, each time, was turned away. At last, he was accepted in as a private in the Royal Army Medical Corps. In recognition of his perseverance and as a "token of respect", his colleagues bought him a silver wrist watch. However, George was not to be long in the army and he was quickly discharged.

This didn't deter him and he made yet another attempt to join up and was finally accepted on 3 March 1916, joining the Shropshires. George went overseas after training about three months later, saying goodbye to his fiancée, May. He was, probably, one of the draft of 73 new men who joined the battalion on 16 June, whilst it was in camp in Belgium. George's war would be over within a month.

The Battle of the Somme started on 1 July and, the same day, the Shropshires started to move towards this new sector. On the 14th, George went into action at the Battle of Bazentin Ridge, when the battalion was part of an attack on German positions between the villages of Longueval and Bazentin, in the south of the battlefield. Battalion strength was about 940 men.

The attack went in at 3.30am. The men quickly came up against thick and uncut rows of barbed wire in front of the enemy front line. The Regimental History records "Not a man of the first wave succeeded in getting through this wire of which there were two rows, each ten to twenty yards deep. The succeeding waves of the attack closed on the first and the enemy had an easy target. After vain attempts to penetrate the wire, the remnants of the attacking force fell back to the shelter of a sunken road about 200 yards from the enemy trenches". Later in the morning, the Battalion no strengthened by grenade throwers from other units on the flanks made succeeded in cutting the wire and successfully attacking the enemy trench.

The remnants of the battalion, now only 141 strong (the rest were dead or wounded), consolidated the gains and, beating off five counter-attacks, held the position until they were relieved on the 20th. On the 18th, George was shot in the head. He was evacuated from the battlefield to a casualty clearing station (field hospital) some miles behind the front line. There, military surgeons would have stabilised his condition and he was then further evacuated to No. 5 British Red Cross Hospital at Abbeville, where he succumbed to his injuries on the 25th.

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