10694 Private George William Myers,
10th (Service) Battalion, The York and Lancaster Regiment
George William Myers was born in Thorne, near Doncaster in 1896. He the son of George Myers, a joiner from (Kirk) Sandall, near Thorne, and his wife, Emily, although her given name was Millie Auckland. Together they had three children, of which George William was the youngest. On leaving school, George began working as a gardener.
George Myers’ mother, Millie Myers died on 2nd July 1899, and her widower remarried on 30th December that year, in Market Weighton. The second Mrs Myers was Emily Brown, known as Emma.
George Myers married Clara Goodall at All Saints’ Church in Barwick on 22nd August 1914. Despite being only 18 at the time of his wedding, the marriage register gives his age as 22 years old. A civilian at the time of his wedding, and with the country at war and appealing for volunteers, George Myers initially enlisted into the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry at their regimental depot in Pontefract the following month, but the group of men who enlisted into the KOYLI at the same time as George Myers were all transferred to the York and Lancaster Regiment on 1st October 1914. All the men went to the 10th Battalion of the regiment, which was a New Army battalion, and had recently formed, also at Pontefract.
The York and Lancaster’s 10th Battalion was a part of the 21st Division, and it went off to complete its training in Tring, in Hertfordshire. Initially it was in camp at Halton Park, but as the winter drew in and the rain turned to the ground into mud, a move into proper billets was required and the units dispersed into more substantial billets in nearby towns and it wasn’t until May 1915 that the infantry units of the 21st Division was able to return to Halton Park and move into a newly built hutted camp.
The units of the 21st Division crossed to France
overnight on 10th -11th September 1915 from Folkestone to
Boulogne, and proceeded to a rest camp to spend what was left of the night,
before moving off on the afternoon of the same day, by train to Watten. Over
the following two weeks, 10th Battalion was constantly moving, by
route marches, towards its destination at Vermelles. On arrival at Vermelles at
10 pm on 25th September, the battalion went into the trenches for
the first time, and immediately went into action on the line Hulluch-Lens
Road-Hill 70 line.
The battalion was relieved by a battalion of Scots Guards at 3:30 am on 27th September and marched out to Noyelles-les-Vermelles. No gains had been made, and because the battlefield where the men had died was still in German hands, the dead could not be recovered for burial. Among them was Private George William Myers. Of the 71 men of the battalion who died in the fighting between 25th -27th September 1915, 68 of them have no known grave and are now commemorated on the walls of the Loos Memorial that surrounds Dud Corner Cemetery, on the apex of the Loos Battlefield.
George Myers was the first soldier from Barwick to be killed in the Great War.
In his will, George Myers’ residence is given as Tockwith, between Wetherby and York, where his father and stepmother were living. He left effects totalling £43 6s to his widow, Clara, who lived at Richmond Lane, in Barwick. His name also appears on the Roll of Honour at the Church of the Epiphany in Tockwith.