George EDEN
Rank: Guardsman
Number: 15732
Unit: 2nd Battalion GRENADIER GUARDS
Date of Death: 7 November 1914
Age: 20
Cemetery: Bedford House Cemetery, Ieper, Belgium

George Eden, senior, originated from near Mobberley and worked as a mechanical engineer. He was married to Jane. Their first four children - Ethel, Harold, Agnes and George had been born in Mobberley. Their younger siblings, Elsie and Percy, were born in Sale. However, when the 1901 Census was taken the family was living at 250 St Pauls Road, Smethwick. By 1914, the family had returned to North Cheshire and was living at Orion House, Frewland Avenue, in the Davenport area of Stockport.

George was no longer at home as he joined the army two years before. He had become a crack shot and held the army's shooting efficiency badge. When War was declared in August 1914, George and his comrades were in barracks in Chelsea and they were one of the first units to be sent overseas. He will have taken part in the early battles of the War - at Mons, the Aisne and the Marne, before arriving in the Ypres sector in Belgium in October. This was the first of the four major battles that would take place around the town during the course of the War

George was not killed outright, but died of wounds he received in action. It is not possible to know when he was injured but he is buried close to where the Grenadiers were in action. This suggests that it was probably the same or previous day (otherwise he would have been evacuated to a field hospital).

The Battalion's War Diary provides a graphic account of the days leading to his death. In late October, George and his comrades had been in trenches at Klein Zillebeke, just on the outskirts of the town centre. At 3am on 1 November, they were relieved and marched back a couple of miles to rest. This only lasted for two or three hours, before they were again ordered forward as the Germans had broken through part of the front line. They helped to throw the enemy out and dug-in again. The Diary notes "No food till very late, very tired and short of sleep, 10 killed, 29 wounded, 8 missing".

The next morning, the Germans attacked but were driven off by machine gun fire with heavy losses. Intermittent attacks continued all day and the Grenadiers were shelled by enemy artillery. There was a strong attack at dusk with the Germans getting to within 25 yards of the British trench before being beaten back. Casualties: 4 killed; 12 wounded and 1 missing.

The next three were relatively quiet with no enemy attacks. However, shelling and sniper fire continued and there were deaths and injuries on each day.

On the 6th, the Diary records "French on right driven back and line broken. Irish Guards on immediate right also driven back. We were hard pressed and had to refuse our right, when Irish Guards retired, our left held firm. Household Cavalry counter attacked with great loss, stopped German advance. Lieut. Lord Congleton's platoon, which was our only reserve, filled up gaps. A trying and critical day. Lieut. Tufnell killed, Lieut. Dowling wounded. 7 NCOs & men killed, 68 wounded."

The next day, there were further attempts to counter attack but these were only partially successful. The Grenadiers were regularly shelled throughout the day and, later, there was another German attack which was driven off. Casualties for the day included 10 killed, 46 wounded and 3 missing.

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