George Henry DAWSON
Rank: Private
Number: 40528
Unit: 20th Battalion MANCHESTER REGIMENT
Date of Death: 8 January 1917
Age: 20
Cemetery: Beaumont-Hamel British Cemetery, Somme, France

George Dawson, a carter, and Jane Burrows married in the closing months of 1890 at Christ Church, Heaton Norris. Their first two children were daughters and were called Martha and Olive. In about 1897, a son was born and they named him after his father. Nothing else is known about young George's life, except that the family home had been at 250 Heaton Lane for many years.

When George joined the army, he travelled to Chester to do so and enlisted into the Cheshire Yeomanry. This was the cavalry arm of the Territorial Force and he undertook his basic army training with the Yeomanry. However, in the middle of 1916, he was transferred to the Manchesters, probably at the end of his training period. He will have gone overseas as part of a draft of replacements for casualties suffered in the early weeks of the Battle of the Somme.

On 6 January 1917, the Battalion left its billets and took over a section of the front line near the Somme village of Beaumont Hamel. The Battle of the previous year had ended in the autumn and this was a relatively quiet time, but casualties would still be taken on a daily basis.

There is some discrepancy between the casualty figures recorded in the Battalion's War Diary and its returns submitted and published after the War.

On the 7th, the Diary records that the Germans attempted a small scale attack on part of the Manchesters trenches at 5.30am but this was beaten off with machine gun fire and grenades. There's a record of six men being killed and another wounded, yet the later returns only record one man being dead.

On the 8th, the Diary records this was a quiet day and that one man was killed and another wounded, both by shellfire. George is the only man recorded in the later published records as having died on that day and is presumed to be the man killed. However, those later records indicate he had "died of wounds", rather than being killed outright.

   
           
   
     
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