George Frederick TAYLOR
Rank: Gunner
Number: 16857
Date of Death: 1 March 1917
Age: 33
Cemetery: Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, France

George was born in Marple and lived all his life in the village until he enlisted into the Army in April 1915. His father, James, had died in the 1890s but his mother, Hannah continued to live at the family at Lime Villa. The Census records that George was the youngest of the unmarried children still at home  - he had three older siblings; Joseph, Edith and Agnes. Also living there was his older widowed sister, Sarah Mountain and her two children.

He worked as a clerk for the Grand Central Railway at its offices in Manchester. In his spare time, George had several sporting interests. For three or four years prior to the War, he had been goalkeeper for Marple Lacrosse Club. He was also a keen golfer and a member of the Townscliffe Golf Club. In the evening, he was a regular at the Conservative Club where he played for the billiards team.

When he joined up at Manchester, he was assigned to the artillery as were many older recruits, perhaps not thought fit enough for the rigours of the infantry. After training, he went overseas in September 1915 and was home again on leave in the following June. George will have been in action throughout the late summer and early autumn during the Battle of the Somme. The period over the winter and early spring was a relatively quiet time, but the artillery would still have been firing harassing bombardments.

During this time, George developed bronchitis which quickly turned to pneumonia. In the way of things, he probably didn’t report sick until he was quite ill and, in the days before antibiotics, pneumonia could be a killer. He was eventually evacuated away from the gun positions but had only reached a tented field hospital when he died.

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