George Wyld SCHOFIELD
Rank: Gunner
Number: 80137
Unit: 223rd Siege Battery ROYAL GARRISON ARTILLERY
Date of Death: 26 September 1917
Age: 22
Cemetery: Wieltje Farm Cemetery, Ieper, Belgium

George is known to have been born in the Oldham area and was, most probably, the 5 year old George W Schofield listed on the 1901 Census as having been born in Chadderton. He was living with his parents, Sandy and Lilly, and his 10 month old brother Wilfred at 74 White Gate Lane, Chadderton.

Nothing else is known about his family life except that, after the War, his parents (described only as Mr & Mrs Schofield by the War Graves Commission) were living at 63 Lower Hillgate, Stockport. George enlisted into the Army in the town and his service number suggests this was probably within days of War being declared in August 1914. In the early months of recruiting, men had considerable flexibility in deciding which unit they wanted to join, so it is possible that George had a reason for choosing the artillery.

Few records remain of the activities of the units of the Royal Garrison Artillery and it is not possible to know the circumstances in which George was killed on 26 September 1917. However, most artillerymen were killed during shelling of their positions by the German artillery and there’s no reason to suspect that George’s death was due to any other cause.

The Siege Batteries fired the heaviest weapons in the British arsenal and were used to batter enemy strongpoints. The size and weight of the guns meant that they were not very mobile and, in fixed positions, it would not take the Germans too long to identify their location. The Third Battle of Ypres had been underway since 31 July and, after the first day, the advance had slowly continued in a series of smaller scale “bite and hold” attacks. One such attack, later designated as the Battle of Polygon Wood, took place on 26 September and it is likely that George and his mates were firing to support the infantry attack

   
           
   
     
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