George Herbert ROWLAND
Rank: Private
Number: 303127
Date of Death: 15 July 1917
Age: 37
Cemetery: Nieuport Memorial, Nieuwpoort, Belgium

In 1865 Charles Henry Rowland married Phoebe Crosier at St Paul's Church, Hulme, Manchester. They would have at least three children together before he died in the late 1890s. Phoebe continued to live in the family home in Moss Side with William (then 24), Charlotte (24) and George (20).

George worked as a warehouseman and, in 1903, he married Mary Ann Boughton in the Prestwich area. Around this time, they moved to Heaton Norris, probably living at 237 Green Lane (where Mary was known to be living in the early 1920s). When War was declared in 1914, George is not thought to have been an early volunteer. He probably joined up around early 1916 and was given the service number of 7282. His later six-digit number is one associated with the 8th Battalion and it will be reasonable to assume this was his original assignment. At some point he was probably wounded or spent a considerable period of time away from the Battalion due to illness. When he had recovered, the army will have decided the 2nd Battalion was in greater need of replacements.

In mid July 1917, the men of 2nd Manchesters had a few days away from the fighting and were at Jean Bart Camp, somewhere a little way behind the front line near the Belgian coastal town of Nieuwpoort. At 7pm on the 11th, they received orders to start another tour of duty, relieving the 16th Highland Light Infantry in "C" Subsector. As they changed over in the trenches, the positions were heavily shelled and several men were killed before the relief was completed at 4am.

On the 13th, the enemy opened another heavy bombardment, including the use of tear gas shells, of the front line and communication trenches. It didn't stop until nearly midnight. Several men had been killed, probably including Thomas Timperley.

On the 15th, "B" Company raided the enemy trenches. In retaliation, the Germans shelled the British 1st, 2nd and 3rd lines. It is not known if George was part of the raiding party or was killed in the shelling. His body was never found and identified. Another local man, Albert Allman, was mortally wounded and died the next day.

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