• Year of birth: 1898
  • Place of birth: Lancashire, Rochdale, England, United Kingdom
  • Date of death: 10/10/1917
  • Place of death: Seine, Zonnebeke, Belgium
  • Cause of death: Killed in action (K.I.A.)
  • Age: 19
  • Profession: Unknown
  • Religion: Church of England
  • Country: England, United Kingdom
  • Rank: Private
  • Service number: 281989
  • Enlistment date: Unknown
  • Enlistment place: Lancashire, Rochdale, England, United Kingdom
  • Last known unit: Lancashire Fusiliers, 2/7th Bn.
  • Force: British Expeditionary Force

Cemetery

Distinctions and medals 2

British War Medal Medal
Victory Medal Medal

Additional information

Private George Birch served in the Lancashire Fusiliers 2nd/7th Battalion, part of the 197th Brigade, of the 66th (2nd East Lancashire) Division.

The Division participated in the Battle of Poelcapelle on the 9th of October 1917, part of the Third Battle of Ypres. The 197th Brigade advanced towards Keerselaarhoek, with its right flank on the Ypres-Roulers railway. The 197th Brigade was on the right of the Divisional front with four Battalions of the Lancashire Fusiliers. It’s attack was carried by the 3rd/5th Lancashire Fusiliers, the 2nd/6th and 2nd/8th Lancashire Fusiliers; the 2nd/7th Lancashire Fusiliers were in reserve.

At 5.20 a.m. the 3rd/5th Lancashire Fusiliers attacked behind a creeping barrage. They took the first objective, called the Red Line. They then linked up with the 198th Brigade on their left in Augustus Wood. Meanwhile the attack was taken over by the 2nd/8th and 2nd/6th Battalions. Together the three Battalions reached and consolidated the second objective, the Blue Line. The 2nd/7th Battalion followed the advancing parties and remained in reserve.

A defensive flank was formed on the left, but was mistaken for a withdrawal and the men of the 66th Division fell back to the Red Line, where they consolidated positions from Hillside Farm to Defy Crossing (the Railroad crossing). The Germans launched two counter attacks at 09.40 a.m. and at 5.30 p.m., but they were repulsed by small-arms fire.

On the 10th of October the 2nd/7th Lancashire Fusiliers formed a defensive flank on the left of the 197th Brigade, facing Heine House, as the 198th had not got forward. The positions of the 2nd/7th Lancashire Fusiliers were heavily shelled during the afternoon. The shelling went on till the evening. Another German counterattack was repulsed on the 10th of October. During the night the Division was relieved by the 3rd Australian Division.

Private George Birch was killed in action on the 10th of October 1917. His body was recovered at grid square 28.D.16.d, behind the jump of line just south of Tyne Cot Cemetery. Private Birch is remembered at Dochy Farm New British Cemetery, grave VIII. A. 25.

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