Rank: Private 20110 (formerly 13664)
Regiment: 1/5th Battalion, Prince of Wales Own (West Yorkshire Regiment) (Formerly 12th Reserve Cavalry Regiment)
Died: 15 July 1916
Beer Memorial Cross, St Michael's Church Tablet, Beer
Other Memorial: Authuile Military Cemetery, Somme [Google]
PDF Download: CARSLAKE George
George Carslake was born in Beer in 1890, the eldest of the nine children of John Carslake, a farm labourer born in Branscombe, and his wife Annie.
At the time of the 1901 census the family lived at Ridgeway, Colyton, but by the 1911 census they were living at No. 4 Manor Cottages in Seaton, and George was working as a farm labourer. George's brother, William, was also to die in Flanders.
George enlisted in Exeter and initially joined the 12th Reserve Cavalry Regiment, which was formed at Aldershot in August 1914. However, like many men in these units, he was drafted into an infantry regiment on completing his training, and he joined the 1/5th Battalion the Prince of Wales Own (West Yorkshire Regiment). This battalion landed at Boulogne on 15 April 1915 as part of the 49th (West Riding) Division, together with the 1/6th Battalion.
In the summer of 1916, both battalions were in the Somme area of France, ready to take part in a planned major offensive. On 1 July 1916, the opening day of the Battle of the Somme, George’s unit was in Aveluy Wood, north of Albert, ordered to attack a German strongpoint known as the Schwaben Redoubt. However, only a small party from the battalion reached the Redoubt, and they had to withdraw the following day.
The battalion remained in the same area for some weeks, burying the dead in nearby Thiepval Wood and repairing trenches. On 15 July, they were still repairing trenches when 1/6th Battalion nearby were attacked. The 1/5th battalion war diary for that day reads:
“Repair of trenches. 1/6th West Yorks attacked in salient, a platoon and 2 sections of ‘A’ Company sent to support. Casualties 2/Lt Shillaker wounded while patrolling German wire, OR killed 9, wounded 14.”
George Carslake must have been one of the nine men killed in this action. He is buried in the military cemetery at the edge of the tiny village of Authuile.
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