George WILD
Rank: Private
Number: 52577
Unit: 11th Battalion CHESHIRE Regiment
Date of Death: 28 August 1916
Cemetery: Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France

George is believed to have lived all his life in the Stockport area, his family living at 4 Rhyl Street, Heaton Norris. As a boy, he had been a member of the Boys' Brigade. When he left school, in his early teens, he worked for J & G Wathews Ltd, Spring Mount Mills, Brinksway.

His original service number, 4537, is one associated with the town's Territorial Battalion - the 6th Cheshires and this is the unit George will have joined, probably in early 1916. The number is one of group thought to have arrived in France in July 1916 as replacements for the 6th Battalion. However, due to the casualties suffered by other battalions during the opening of the Battle of the Somme, a number were diverted to those units. George had probably only been with the 11th for about a month when he was killed.

On 23 August, George and his comrades moved from positions near Aveluy Wood to dugouts at The Bluff near the village of Authuile. Unusually, no daily account was maintained in the Battalion's War Diary, but the Commanding Officer, Major W R Evans, made the following report of the tour of duty, which lasted until 28 August-

"A portion of the new British line had to be garrisoned - a no easy matter, as this trench was no more than series of shell holes which had its formation altered entirely daily by the heavy shelling of the Germans. The fatigues and working parties too were extremely exacting - and the spirit and stamina of the men was put to the test. New trenches had to be dug and stores had to be carried. The weather was unkind and added greatly to the discomfort of the men as well as making all work trebly difficult. Under these conditions, one learns how hard it is to carry bombs through two feet of mud; how hard it is to get the mud from a shovel and all under a heavy shelling which daily obliterated the trenches dug. The time of casualties had again arrived but signs of the old pluck and endurance of the 11th Cheshires were not wanting."

Of the four soldiers killed during this tour, three were Stockport - George, Thomas Bardsley and Alfred Kelsall.

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