George BRINSLEY
Rank: Private
Number: 27786
Unit: 11th Battalion ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT
Date of Death: 29 April 1917
Age: 29
Cemetery: Arras Memorial

Cornelius Brinsley and Harriett Hunt married in the late 1860s at St Mark's Church, Bredbury. It's not known how many children they had together but it was not until 1879 that there was a birth of a son also called Cornelius. When the Census was taken in 1901 , the family was living at 305 Newbridge Lane (and later at 327), Stockport. Cornelius, senior, was a baker and his son, a carter, was still living at home but now married to Mary and with a one month old son, also called Cornelius. Also at home was the future solider, George, and his younger brother, James. 13 year old George had left school and was working at one of the local cotton mills as a bobbin sorter.

When George joined the army at Stockport, he was assigned to the King's Shropshire Light Infantry (service number) and went overseas on active service with them. It's not known when or under what circumstances he transferred to the Warwickshires, although it was often the case that, if a man had been wounded, another unit might be in greater need of replacements when he returned to duty.

Army records published after the War indicate that George was not killed outright but "died of wounds" sometime after being injured. It cannot be known exactly when, but the fact that he has no known grave suggests that there was no time for him to be evacuated well away from the battlefield to an army field hospital and it was probably during an attack the previous day.

In the middle of April, the Warwicks spent several days in reserve training for an assault on German positions as part of the ongoing Battle of Arras which had started on the 9th. Overnight on the 22/23 April, they made their way into assembly positions at Laurel Trench. Later in the morning they moved forward under a heavy artillery barrage to the final assault positions. The attack began at 6pm and the men advanced in accordance with the training. However, they were held up by heavy fire and had to dig in, short of the objective, east of the road between Gavrelle and Roeux. They held this position until relieved on the 25th and then went back into a support position.

In the early hours of the 28th, they again moved to assembly positions at Greenland Hill with battalions of the East Lancahsires and Middlesex Regiments to their right and left. They went "over the top" at 4.25am. After only 100 yards, gaps started to open up on left as casualties mounted amongst the East Lancashires. The men from the leading companies now veered off their designated route to plug this gap. The two companies following had lost all their officers and NCOs and command had passed to two sergeants. They pressed forward but, with the men of the leading companies not there to give the necessary support , they were too few and scattered to be able to carry on the full attack. These groups, some armed with light Lewis machine guns took up positions as best they could some 300 - 400 yards east of Cuba Trench. They held this until relieved at daybreak on 29th.

It is almost certain that George will have wounded during this attack. It is probable that stretcher bearers managed to take him to a dressing station just behind the front line and this is where he'll have died. It is possible that his grave was never properly marked or, if it was, then it was destroyed in the later fighting.

   
           
   
     
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