George SHIRD
Rank: Private
Number: 29484
Unit: 2/7th Battalion ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT
Date of Death: 5 December 1917
Age:
Cemetery: Cambrai Memorial, Louveral, Nord, France

Although George's age is not known for certain, it is an uncommon name and he was probably the boy born in Stockport in 1888. He is, almost certainly, also the man who married Sarah Lizzie Palfreyman at St Mary's Church, Stockport in the late summer of 1917. Around the same time, he joined the army and was assigned to the Cheshire Regiment (service number 61869). This was for training purposes only and before he went overseas on active service he was transferred to the Warwicks. Their son, who they named George, was born in the first quarter of 1917 and it isn't known if Private Shird ever got to see him.

On 20 November, the British Army launched the first "all arms" attack on German positions near Cambrai. Infantry, artillery, aircraft and the new tanks all worked together to punch a hole through the enemy's very solid defences. The attack was maintained for several days but, by the end of the month, the Germans had regrouped and were counter-attacking in strength. The Battle of Cambrai was effectively over by 3 December with the British forced into a costly withdrawal. However, small scale fighting continued to take place around the positions known as Welsh Ridge.

This was still a British held salient pushing into the German lines but at 11am on the 5th, the Germans attacked in strength, driving back the Warwicks and other defenders with considerable casualties. A further, even stronger, attack came at 2.30pm pushing the British back out of the salient. George was amongst the dead. His body was, no doubt, buried by the advancing Germans who, unsurprisingly, will have had little interest in making individual identifications and George now has no known grave.

   
           
   
     
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