Rank: Gunner
Number: 745025
Unit: 53rd (Welsh) Division Ammunition Column ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY
Date of Death: 14 February 1917
Age: 18
Cemetery: Bois Guillaume Communal Cemetery, Rouen, France

One of the abiding myths of the Great War is that of the number of young boys who were allowed to join up and serve overseas under military age. Of course, it happened but not in so many cases as the myth suggests. But George was one of them. He enlisted on 13 January 1915 whilst still 16 and went overseas on 22 November, aged 17. Whilst the age had been 19 for the regular army, the Territorial Force accepted recruits for service at 18 and George probably thought he had a better chance with them.

He was the only son of James and Mary who lived at 95 Didsbury Road, and later at 489 Didsbury Road, Heaton Mersey. He had educated at St John’s Day School and later went to work as a gardener at Heaton Moor Park. The family worshipped at the local Congregational Church and George had been a member of its Lads’ Club.

The Ammunition Column was responsible for transporting shells from the reserve store areas to the forward gun positions. George was slightly wounded during the Battle of the Somme in July 1916 but was quickly back at duty. Around New Year 1917, he was home on 10 days leave and returned to duty three weeks before he died. He was one of 26 men who were killed in a railway accident – no further details of the incident are known.

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