George Baron was born in Royton in 1898, the son of James and Hannah.He had a brother Walter and sisters Alice,Mary&Ethel. George like most lads in Royton worked in the cotton industry. He was called up on February 26th,1917 and posted to the Welsh Regiment on 25th August of that year,arriving at Le Havre from England the following day.He met up with his battalion on September 2nd and eighteen days later went over the top during the Battle of the Menin Road.He was killed along with 58 others from his unit whilst under heavy German machine gun fire. They were:
Private James McDonald Abbott,62535,19 years old,from Carlisle
Private William Charles Allen,55834,19 years old,from Bath
Private John Winter Bell,59297,20 years old,from Durham
Private Harry Bennett,15706,from Taunton
Private Henry James Bennett,25946,from Newport,born Taunton
Private James Berry,62547,from Chorley
Private Leslie William Beyer,285407,22 years old,from Maidstone
Lance Corporal William John Bowen,16774,from Bargoed
Private Patrick Buckley,285516,20 years old,from Cardiff
Private Richmond Burd,30426,34 years old,from Shropshire
Private Frederick John Burns,41996,33 years old,from Swansea
Private Richard Cartwright,1469,21 years old,from Cheshire
Private Frederick Chard,55839,from Somerset
Private Frank Morris Chorley,242106,enlisted in Cardiff
Private Clifford Thomas Colman,46346,from Somerset
Private Andrew Coyle,34285,from Newcastle-on-Tyne
Private Joseph Crowley,62558,from Liverpool
Private Stanley Charles Cryer,62554,19 years old,from Rochdale
Private Morgan Davidson,39396,from Bridgend
Private Evan Thomas Davies,44466,26 years old,from Newquay,Cardiganshire
Private Joshua Davies,24993,from Aberavon
Private Tom Emms,28130,from Cardiff
Private Richard John Evans,14816,from Penydarren,Glamorganshire
Private Thomas Evans,58737,from Glamorganshire
Private Walter Frodsham,62570,from Bolton
Private John Henry Fry,2855313,31 years old,from Cardiff
Major John Angel Gibbs,DSO,37 years old,from Penarth,Cardiff
Private Arthur Gorvin,285005,from Newport
Private James William Groves,285520,30 years old,from Hereford
Private Frank Maurice Guy,60859,from Wolverhampton
Private William Hart,62593,19 years old,from Liverpool
Private William Henry Howland,57161,23 yeard old,from Ramsgate
Private David Hughes,21429,36 years old,from New Tredegar
Private William Thomas John,54265,19 years old,from Haverfordwest
Private Hugh Jones,34966,37 years old,from Llantrisant,Glamorganshire
Private John Jones,62600,19 years old,from Shrewsbury
Second Lieutenant John Arllwyd Jones,34 years old from Wrexham
Second Lieutenant Llewellyn Price Jones,24 years old,from Cardiff
Corporal Thomas Owen,20970,30 years old,from Treorchy,Glamorganshire
Private William Thomas Jones,37184
Second Lieutenant Frederick Jukes,26 years old,from Cardiff
Private John Lennon,26221
Private Arthur Ludgate,43585,22 years old,from Gorton
Company Serjeant Major James Morris,53690,26 years old,D C M,from Newport
Corporal Howell OWen,14544,24 years old,from Merthyr
Private Edwin Parsell,53841,22 years old,from Ebbw Vale
Lance Corporal John Perry,19121,19 years old,from Pembrokeshire
Private Edward David Phillips,1642
Corporal Henry Russell,12894,36 years old,from Cheltenham
Private James Simmonds,22360
Second Lieutenant Lionel G.T Thomas,19 years old,from Pembrokeshire
Private William Henry Trinder,19 years old,from Blackburn
Private William Ivor Tucker,56579,20 years old,from Swansea
Private Percy Albert Wildish,57170,22 years old,from Kent
Private Glyn Williams,46452,20 years old,from Llanelli
Private Ernest Worth,285049,from St.Helens
The official history of the Regiment describes the action of that day:
As was to be expected the enemy put up their strongest resistance on the high ground south of St. Julien where the ground was firmer for attack, and Sir Douglas Haig accordingly extended the battle area of the Second Army to include the Menin Road, and brought up fresh Divisions for the attack, which was fixed for 20th September. The weather improved in September, though on the night of 19th-20th September rain fell and there was a morning mist.
The front of attack extended from the Ypres-Comines Canal north of Hollebeke to the railway north of Langemarck, a distance of eight miles.The Welsh were represented by the 9th Battalion in the 19th Division, which attacked on the right of the British line. The task allotted to the Division was to protect the right flank of the 39th Division. This entailed an advance of about 900 yards on the left and centre, to the eastern edges of Belgian and Hessian Woods, and then a curved line running back to our original front line about 600 yards to the north of Lock 6 on the Canal. The 57th Brigade attacked on the left on a frontage of about 700 yards, and the 58th Brigade on the right on a frontage of about 1,200 yards, divided between the 6th Wilts on the south, the 9th Welsh in the centre, and the 9th Cheshires on the north, next to the 57th Brigade.
The first objective was the Red Line, an irregular line, 400 yards to 600 yards from the front trenches, and a pause was made on this before attacking Belgian and Hessian Woods, included in the second objective- the Blue Line- 300-500 yards further forward. The 9th Welsh were brought up from camp on 10th September and took over the narrow attacking frontage of about 400 yards with one Company, the other two Battalions doing the same. Familiarising themselves with the ground, the Battalions were withdrawn from 14th-18th September to rest, coming into line again on the night of 18th-19th September.
At 5.40 a.m. on 20th September the attack commenced, ‘C’ Company leading the attack on the right, with ‘A’ in support, ‘D’ Company leading on the left, with ‘B’ supporting it. The ground was heavy with rain, and the troops could not keep up with the barrage which had been purposely accelerated up to the first objective, to get the troops quickly clear of the counter-barrage. As a result they came in for more machine-gun fire.
At 7.40 a.m., Major J.A. Gibbs, DSO, who was in command, was wounded, and Lieutenant-Colonel Godfrey came up to take his place. The advance to the second objective began at 6.24 a.m. and he found ‘A’ and ‘C’ Companies held up by machine-gun fire from an isolated emplacement, which could not be rushed, and from persistent machine-gun fire from Hollebeke Chateau. On the left ‘B’ and ‘D’ Companies were also held up by machine-guns in the western edge of Hessian Wood, but with the aid of a Company of the Cheshires under Lieutenant Colvin, who outflanked the enemy, they got possession by 1 a.m. At about 2 p.m. the Germans launched a general counter-attack on the front of the 19th Division, but warning had been given from the air and the attack collapsed under our artillery fire.
Brigadier-General Glasgow got the Heavies turned on to Hollebeke Chateau, which quieted the machine-guns, and the eastern part of Hessian Wood was captured, but finding it very marshy the final line was fixed on the western edge.
The assault was generally successful on the whole front, but in the area lately held by the 38th Division, the attack on Eagle Trench and the Cemetery again failed, and these places only succumbed on 23rd September.
The Second and Fifth Armies took 3,243 prisoners this day, to which the 9th Welsh contributed 4 officers and 261 other ranks.
Our casualties, nearly all from machine-gun fire, were very severe.
George Baron's inscription at Tyne Cot
Date of Death:20/09/1917
Memorial:Tyne Cot Memorial
Panel Reference:Panel 93 to 94