George BIRCHALL
Rank: Private
Number: 36629
Unit: 62nd Company LABOUR CORPS
Date of Death: 13 April 1918
Age: 36
Cemetery: Louvencourt Military Cemetery, Somme, France

George lived all his life in the Stockport area until, in June 1916, he enlisted into the army and was sent to France.

In 1905, he married Mary Pryme at St Paul's Church, Portwood and they lived at 22 Hatherlow Street. Over the years, they would have five children together. George was reported to work for Cleggs of Brinksway Road. This Company is presumed to be the cotton mill of John Edward Clegg & Son Ltd which was actually on the adjacent Ford Street (between Brinksway and the River Mersey).

When George enlisted, he joined a Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment and was given the service number of 34101. It is possible that he was subsequently discharged due to poor health and later reenlisted. Certainly he was subsequently given a much later number, 56063, and is known to have been allocated to the 21st (Labour) Battalion of the Cheshires. This was comprised of men deemed insufficiently fit for the rigours of fighting in the front line trenches but who could do useful manual work in the rear areas. In the early part of 1917, the 21st Battalion was divided into two and each half became a company of the newly formed Labour Corps.  The Corps would undertake tasks such as road building, sanitary disposal, grave digging, etc and, of course, these duties would bring the men near to the front line.

There are now no detailed records of the day to day activities of the Labour Corps units so it is not possible to know what work George was undertaking when he was killed. The local newspaper, reporting his death, said he had been killed by an aircraft. Presumably, the Company was undertaking road building or some such activity and was bombed by the Germans.

   
           
   
     
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