George Frederick Leonard CROMPTON
Rank: Private
Number: 266094
Date of Death: 27 April 1918
Age: 41
Cemetery: Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, Belgium

George was born in the south Manchester area in the autumn of 1877. In the last quarter of 1901, he married Edith Swann and, around that time, the couple came to live at 93 Brinksway, Stockport.

For some reason, George travelled to Chester to enlist. It is probable that George originally joined the Regiment's 14th Battalion. This was a territorial unit which remained in the UK on home defence duties throughout the war. Six-digit service numbers for Territorial soldiers were introduced at the beginning of 1917, so it is reasonably certain that George did not go overseas before then. He will, presumably, have been deemed fit enough for front line service.

The German Army had launched the second phase of its spring offensive on 9 April 1918 and, although the attack was petering out, there was still heavy fighting towards the end of the month.

On 25 April, the men of the South Lancashires heard heavy artillery fire at about 3am. At 1pm, they received orders to move towards the front and, by 6.30pm, had taken up a position about 1500 yards north west of the Belgian village of Reninghelst (approximately, 9 kilometres south of Ypres). They immediately entrenched to get protection from the enemy shellfire. Shortly afterwards, the men received a hot meal. Later in the evening, they received orders that they were to support an attack on German positions at Kemmel at 23am the next morning. The Battalion's War Diary notes that, as they were expecting to go into action, their greatcoats had been left behind. There had been a heavy thunderstorm on the march and the men were thoroughly soaked.

The men moved into position ready for the attack but it did not go ahead. This appears to be because the enemy had already attacked the leading battalions. Orders were now given for a withdrawal which was completed during the evening of the 26th. During the morning of the 27th, the men were ordered forward again and, as they were assembling an enemy shell fell amongst the men of "A" Company, causing six casualties. George was one of the three men who had been killed. He has no known grave and, of course, it is possible that there was nothing left of him to bury.

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