George STUBBS
Rank: Private
Number: 26012
Unit: 2nd Battalion Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) Regiment
Date of Death: 15 April 1918
Age: 26
Cemetery: Chocques Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France

George's mother, Sarah, was the second wife of Samuel Stubbs. When the 1901 census was taken, the family cab business seems to have been owned by Samuel's son, 41 year old Daniel. Samuel, then 75, was recorded as being a cab driver and died later that year. Sarah is believed to have died in 1913. The family home was at 165 London Road, Hazel Grove and the census shows that George had three sisters - Jane (then 15), Ethel (9) and Alice (6).

Kelly's Directory for 1914 records that the business was still owned by a man named Samuel Stubbs. The family history website, CheshireBMD , records the birth of this man in Hazel Grove in 1858  and he is, presumably, the oldest son and had taken over the business from Daniel at some point.

Before he enlisted into the army, George Stubbs worked as a motor car driver, but not in the family business. He was employed by a Mr Potts, who ran a coach business in Marple. George was a regular worshipper at the Wesleyan Chapel in Hazel Grove and the church was the centre of his social life. He was a member of the church's cricket club and also attended the Young Men's Class.

George enlisted into the army in the autumn of 1915 and was assigned to a unit where his skills as a driver would be put to good use. He joined one of the Motor Transport Companies of the Army Service Corps (service number 132465). When he went overseas in the early part of 1916, it would be to drive a lorry, no doubt bringing stores and ammunition to the front line. In the autumn of 1917, he was transferred to the West Riding Regiment. This will have been at a time when reserves of infantrymen were running low due to the casualties being incurred during the Third Battle of Ypres.

On 9 April 1918, the German opened the second phase of their spring offensive in what would later be officially designated as the Battle of the Lys (after a nearby river). As the attack the month previous, it was overwhelmingly successful, initially driving back the allied forces. The Germans pressed home the attack for several days. On the 14th, George and his comrades moved forward to the hamlet of Le Vertannoy, just to the north west of the French town of Bethune, ready to support a counter attack the following day.

On the morning of the 15th, they moved further forward to the bank of the Le Bassee canal ready to attack, in conjunction with the 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshires. Their objective would be German  positions at Pacout Wood. Details of the day are sketchy, but the Battalion's War Diary notes that they started to cross the canal bridge at 6pm, so they could attack the wood from the west. The Warwicks would attack from the south. The Diary only records "The operation was not a success". Indeed, it had been costly - 35 men were dead, 184 wounded and 7 missing.

   
           
   
     
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