The War brought great sadness to many families but it is hard to imagine the grief that must have been in the Tallent household in April 1918. George was killed on the 9th and, the very next day, his brother, Winson, died of wounds received during the same German attack.
Winson H Tallent had married Alice Charlton at St Thomas's Church, Norbury, Hazel Grove, in 1887. Their first child, Frank, was born locally two years later. Winson, was born in the Stockport area in 1889, but the family then moved to Clitheroe, where John was born in 1891, George in 1894 and Godfrey in 1896. By 1901, Winson, senior, was landlord of the Lord Byrom Inn, 41 Bridge Street, Macclesfield. All the sons would serve during the War - Frank, Godfrey and John would return.
Nothing has been discovered about Winson’s early life but, before the War, he worked in Manchester for Beith & Stevenson Ltd, 14 Bridge Street (and is commemorated on the Company's entry in the Manchester City Battalions Book of Honour). He enlisted at Stockport on 2 September 1914 and was assigned to the Artillery with the service number 1558. 275th Brigade was a Territorial unit of the Field Artillery and it went overseas in October 1915, fighting alongside the Canadians.
In January 1916, it joined the 55th (West Lancashire) Division and was re-armed with up-to-date weaponry. The Territorial artillerymen would now fight alongside Territorial infantrymen. Reporting his death, the local newspaper said that Winson had served in Egypt but this does appear to be accurate and all of his service was on the Western Front. In the autumn of 1917, he was invalided home after being gassed near the Belgian town of Ypres and only returned to duty on 27 March 1918.
The Germans had launched an overwhelmingly successful attack on 21 March which, over the following days, drove the British back many miles. The second phase of this offensive came on 9 April. Winson and his comrades were near the French village of Festubert and the Brigade’s War Diary notes that, at 4.15am, there was an intense bombardment of the front line and rear areas, including the artillery positions. The German infantry came on at about 9am and the British troops were again forced back. During the afternoon, “B” and “C” Batteries were ordered to pull back towards Festubert and they managed to do this although under very heavy fire. 15 men were killed or missing and another 49 wounded.
The next day, the Germans continued to press their attack but it was repulsed. However, another 3 artillerymen were dead and 17 others wounded.
Winson was amongst the wounded but it is not known what happened to him. If it had been possible to evacuate him to a field hospital miles behind the front line then he would almost certainly have a known grave. As it is, he is commemorated on a Memorial to the Missing. It suggests that he died soon after being injured, perhaps at the Dressing Station only a mile or so behind the front line. In the continued retreat, there will have been no time to properly record burial places.
Sergeant John Tallent was also in France with anti-aircraft artillery; Driver Godfrey Tallent had emigrated to Australia and had served with the Australian forces - he had been discharged after being wounded , but had rejoined and was a motor transport company of the Army Service Corps and Lieutenant Frank Tallent had been invalided out of the Royal Field Artillery in December 1915.
As well as his commemoration on the Hazel Grove Memorial, Winson's name is included on three memorials in the Macclesfield area - the main town Memorial, the town hall Memorial and St Michael's Church, Further information about George, including a photograph, can be found in the book, "Hazel Grove to Armageddon" by John Eaton.