Roland GEE
Rank: Gunner
Number: 735902
Unit: D Battery, 245th (West Riding) Brigade ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY
Date of Death: 24 October 1917
Age: 22
Cemetery: Divisional Cemetery, Ieper, Belgium

When the 1901 Census was taken, the Gee family was living at 202 Higher Brinksway. Samuel Gee was married to Deborah and he farmed nearby. They had four children – Elsie (then 7), Roland (5), Walter (3) and Frank (6 months). Nothing is known of Roland’s early life but, at the time of Great War, he was managing his father’s greengrocery shop at 353 Edgeley Road, where the family is also believed to have been living. He was an active member of the Stockport Shop Assistants Organisation.

Roland enlisted in 1915. He had trained as a signaller and, when he went overseas the following year, would have been one of several soldiers in the Brigade responsible for maintaining the telephone lines which were the vital communication link between the gun emplacements and the commanders.

The Third Battle of Ypres is often known as Passchendaele after the village which was the final objective of the attack. The assault had been launched on 31 July and immediately, and literally, became bogged down as heavy rain started to fall on the first afternoon. By mid-October, the British forces had fought their way forward and were coming within striking distance of the village. In the days before he was killed, the artillery were busy preparing to support the infantry attack which, in Roland’s sector, would be undertaken by Canadian forces. The attack was scheduled for 26 October and, from the 19th, the guns were firing their preparatory barrages from positions two or three kilometres west of the centre of Ypres (now Ieper). Of course, the German artillery was not standing idly by and was firing back. Roland had just come off duty and was returning to his billet to sleep when he was reported to have been killed by a shell.

The major commanding the Battery wrote to his parents saying he had been one of the bravest of soldiers, always cheery and ready to do whatever was required of him.

 In the early 1920s, when the War Graves Commission collated its casualty information, Mr & Mrs Gee were living at Greave Farm, Romiley.

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