35748 Pte George Chambers Woolley, The Welbeck Rangers…….

Prior to Enlisting

George was born in New Mills to ?? and Mary Chambers and was one of 8 surviving children. In the 1911 Census the Wolley family were living at Ollersett, New Mills in Derbyshire. At this time George was cloth packer in the local bleach works.

George Attested into the British Army in December 1915 – possibly under the Derby Scheme – and was mobilised into the 3rd Battalion Sherwood Foresters on the 5th June 1916.

George married Maria Roughly in Hayfield Parish Church in October 1916 and four months later their first daughter Matha was born. A son George was born on 30th December 1918.

Arrival in France and wounded at the Battle of Passchendale

Following basic training George arrived in France (Calais) on the 2nd July 1917 and was posted to the 17th Battalion Sherwood Foresters, the Wellbeck Rangers at the 14th Infantry Base Depot.

George was present with the Wellbeck Rangers when they took part in the 3rd Battle of Ypres and attacked Steenbeek near St Julian.

1.15am. Assembly of Battalion was complete and carried out without casualties.

3.50am. The advance commenced across “No Man’s Land”.

4.16 am. The Blue Line was reached without opposition. Slight casualties were incurred due to the protective barrage.

5.13 am. The advance on Black Line commenced. Slight opposition was met with by two enemy machine guns in the vicinity of Oblong Farm. These were at once engaged. The advance continued until held up by machine guns and snipers from Canoe Trench.

5.33am. Undercover of Lewis guns and barrage Canoe Trench was the captured. The advance was then continued by the second wave through Kitchener’s Wood to the dotted black line. On arrival on the eastern side of the Wood two enemy machine guns opened up on us from Alberta. These were engaged…….with the assistance of two tanks……and captured the farm.

6.50 am. The Dotted Green Line Companies and Hugel Hollow Platoon formed up behind protective barrage.

7.30 am. Advance behind protective barrage began. Very little resistance was met. Several prisoners taken from Hugel Hollow and concrete dug-outs to the North East of Alberta.

7.55 am. The Steenbeek was reached and advanced over and consolidation commenced on the Eastern side.

Total casualties were 331 Officers and men including George who was serving with “B” Company.

George was taken to the 134th Field Ambulance before being transferred to 2nd Australian General Hospital at Wimereux. He was returned to England on the 9th August 1917 and did not return to France.

George was granted 9 days leave in mid-September 1917, before being transferred to the 501s5 Agricultural Company of the Labour Corps in April 1918 and was stationed at Derby with the Northern Command.

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