George was born in Oxton, Birkenhead in February 1887. He had two older sisters. When he was five, his father left the family stockbroking business based in Liverpool; and they moved to St Andrews in Scotland, where he spent the rest of his childhood. He attended school at Glenalmond College.
When he left Glenalmond (shortly after his father’s death), the family returned to Oxton so that he could find suitable employment in Liverpool. He joined the Territorial Force. Before emigrating to the far west of Canada in his mid-twenties to work on a fruit farm, he proposed to his sweetheart Rose Partington from Formby.
Three years later in late 1914, as a former 2nd lieutenant in the Territorial Force, he returned from Canada in response to Lord Kitchener’s call, and joined a newly-formed Birkenhead bantam battalion (initially called the 1st Birkenhead Bantams, then renamed the 15th Cheshires) with the rank of lieutenant.
While training in England, he was promoted to captain and became a company commander; and he married Rose. At the end of January 1916, the battalion was sent to the western front, initially French Flanders. Rose gave birth to their son, Robert; and George was able to attend the christening on home leave – on the very day the Somme offensive started. George rejoined the battalion on the Somme, and subsequently served at Arras and then across Picardy.
He spent five months as temporary second in command of the battalion, writing the official battalion diary, and three days as temporary battalion commander.
After the German withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line, George was one of two company commanders who led a successful, lightning-quick dawn assault on a raised area of strategic importance known as the Knoll on 19 August 1917; but he died of wounds in a field ambulance later the same day, aged 30. He was buried nearby in the commune cemetery at Villers-Faucon.
He left a widow and a son of 15 months. One hundred years later, his descendants numbered two grandsons, four great-granddaughters, and one great-great-granddaughter.
He is commemorated by name on the Birkenhead war memorial in Hamilton Square (where his grandparents had lived), in the book of remembrance in Chester Cathedral, and on the war memorial at Glenalmond College. The silver rose bowl given to him by his fellow officers as a wedding present in 1915 was donated to the regimental museum in 2009; and his name was read out in August 2014 outside the Tower of London in one of the Roll of Honour ceremonies. Then, in August 2017, his two grandsons traced the battalion’s route to celebrate his life and mark the centenary of his death.
Cheshire County Memorial Project would like to thank John Schultz, grandson of George for the picture and writing this biography.