‚ÄčRoyton Roll of Honour

GEORGE TOWNSEND BEECH
Age:19
Rank:Private
Service No:47935
Date of Death:29/04/1917
Regiment:Manchester Regiment
Unit:22nd Bn.
Cemetery:
Mons (Bergen) Communal Cemetery
Grave Reference:IV. C. 14.



George was born in Royton in 1898 to George snr & Annie. He was one of 8 surviving children from 11, being the eldest boy of four boys but having three older sisters. At the time of the 1911 census the family were living on Fir Lane but had moved to Glen Grove by the time of George's death.
George worked as a piecer at the Thornham Mill before joining the colours in October 1916.He went on active service in early 1917 with the 22nd Manchesters. On March 14th the 22nd Manchesters were at Bucquoy (SSW of Arras)  in what appears to have been a failed attack in poor conditions during the German withdrawal; an attack in which heavy casualties were suffered. The day's record is that 28 were killed,52 wounded and 65 missing. Amongst the missing was George who had been shot through the eye and taken prisoner by the Germans. They cared for him in a hospital near Mons until he succumbed to his wounds some six weeks later.
The CWGC has the following men from the 22nd dying on the day of the ill fated attack.Eight are from the Oldham district with one, John Travis Knott being a Royton man

ARMSTRONG MICHAEL Corporal '20767' from Manchester         
BAKER SIDNEY JOHN Private 44363 from Bromley         
BUTCHER Second Lieutenant          
CATTLEY HUBERT PENNINGTON Private 44321 from Brighton         
COOK WALTER 23 Private 27413 from Oldham        
COUPE CHARLES ARTHUR 24 Private 43582 from Heywood        
CUNNIFFE PETER Private 37984 from Lees      
DITCHFIELD THOMAS Private 12864 from Hulme         
DRAKE THOMAS WILFRED Private 21456 from Preston         
GANDY THOMAS MORETON MM Serjeant 20920 from Northwich         
GOODBRAND HARRY MM Lance Serjeant 20629 from Manchester         
HACKLAND JAMES Private 32274 from Manchester         
HARRINGTON JAMES Private 47991 from Oldham         
INGHAM ALAN 20 Second Lieutenant from Oldham        
JEFFERY JOHN JAMES 34 Private 44335 from Blackheath        
KENT CHARLES 20 Lance Corporal 44335 from Columbo,Ceylon        
KNOTT JOHN TRAVIS Private 33046 from Royton         
LANGTON JOSEPH Private 36524 from Wigan         
LEVIS HARRY 28 Private 43594 from Eccles        
ROCKLIFF FRANK Private 18996 from Stoke         
RUSSELL HERBERT 20 Private 27448 from Shaw        
SASSEN JOHN RAYMOND 27 Private 40804 from Salford        
SMITH STANLEY 23 Lance Corporal 43595 from Higher Crumpsall        
SQUIRES ALFRED JAMES Private 47619 from Cambridge         
TAYLOR FRED Lance Corporal 9969 from Oldham         
WALKER WILLIAM Private 40736 from Birkenhead         
WALVIN WALTER Private 28959 from Failsworth         
WOLSTENCROFT EDWARD 21 MM Lance Corporal 21070 from Manchester        
YEARDLEY WALTER Private 25685 from Manchester      

On October 20th, George's parents received notification from the Red Cross that their son had died in German captivity.
In May 1918 the following appeared in the Oldham Chronicle:

In sad but ever loving memory of our dear boy,Private George Townsend Beech,22nd Manchester Regiment,who was
wounded and taken prisoner on March 14th 1917, and died April 29 1917 at Mons,aged 19 years
When the day dawns,and shadows flee,
Thy purpose Lord,we then shall see
Peace,perfect peace
Ever remembered by his loving Father,Mother,Sisters
and Brothers
-45 Glen Grove,Royton

& the following year:

A great and treasured memory
ever remembered by all at home