George FIELDING
Rank: Lance Corporal
Number: 32960
Unit: 8th Battalion CHESHIRE REGIMENT
Date of Death: 11 April 1917
Age: 20
Cemetery: Basra Memorial, Iraq

Regimental records published after the War indicate that George was born in Marple and enlisted at Hyde. The 1901 Census lists 22 people called Fielding living in the village at the time, including a four year old boy called George who is presumed to be our soldier. At least of the others must be his close family, but the financial constraints on this project have prevented looking at the "pay to view" part of the Census to establish family relationships.

Further information about George, including a photograph, is included in the book "Remembered" by P Clarke, A Cook and J Bintliff. The book records that his parents were George and Martha.

George's service number suggests that he enlisted into the army in early 1916 and, after training, would have spent all of his overseas service in Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq). He probably joined the Battalion in the middle of year and, unlike his longer-serving comrades, would not experience defeat and retreat. Baghdad had been captured from the Turkish army in March 1917 and the further advances meant that, by 10 April, the British Army was about 100 miles north of the city.

News was received that the Turkish Army was preparing to move from its base in the Jabal Hamrin Hills to an attack on the plains. The British 39th and 40th Brigades, including the 8th Cheshires, marched 20 miles overnight to intercept the Turks, By 5am on the 11th they had reached a point on the Sindiya railway, approximately 5.5 miles north of the village of Chaliya. The planned advance was that the Cheshires would attack on the right and the 8th Royal Welsh Fusiliers on the left.

The report of the Cheshires' commanding officer, Colonel Crocker, describes what happened. "Our cavalry were retiring through me and reported Turks advancing rapidly. I then swung the Battalion to continue the line on right of RWF and it developed into a race for a very ill-defined ridge. We won and were able to pour heavy fire into the advancing Turks. I got three and half companies and four machine guns in the firing line. The right Company reported 300 Turks turning their right and they were forced back. I sent up all reserves and then had all four Companies in firing line. I had a (artillery) battery attached and got them on to a line of Turks in front who had been completely stopped by our fire. Turks thereupon retired 200 yards. Rifle and machine gun fire very heavy all day. Machine gun fire especially heavy this evening. After dark, I withdrew one Company as reserve and had the remainder dig in, in small posts along the front. Casualties: 6 officers wounded. 10 O.R. killed, 50 wounded."

George was of the 10 Other Ranks who had been killed.

   
           
   
     
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