George Thomas Goode

Name George Thomas Goode
Corps 15th Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers. Formerly Bedfordshire Regiment (203910)
Rank Private
Service No. 56909
Date/Place of entry Kettering
Date of death 16 May 1918  Died of wounds
Memorial/Grave VIII.O.5.Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez

George Thomas Goode was born in 1898, youngest child of Harry Goode and his wife Jane nee Pickwell. He grew up in Middleton, where in 1911 he lived with his widowed father and sister Kate. His father Harry was employed as a groom. (He is incorrectly described on the Soldiers Died in the Great War database as having been born in Middleton, Lancashire)

George Thomas was initially in the Bedfordshire Regiment but transferred to the 15th Battalion (1st Salford Pals) Lancashire Fusiliers, part of the 96th Brigade, 32nd Division, at an unknown date. In 1916 George Thomas reached his eighteenth birthday and was therefore old enough to be conscripted. Eighteen was officially the lower age limit for conscription but many boys far younger than eighteen enlisted, so George might well have been a soldier before 1916. However, because the 15th Lancashire Battalion was a locally raised Pals Battalion regiment it seems likely he was transferred into it at a late stage of the war when army numbers were drastically reduced and many men were reassigned to fill gaps.

The 32nd Division was active on the Somme and took part in several major actions including the battles of Albert, Bazentin, and the Ancre in 1916, and operations on the Ancre the following year. In 1918 it fought as part of the Third Army at the Battle of the Ancre on 5 April 1918 under General Byng. The German army had renewed its attacks along the Somme in hopes of advancing towards Amiens. The fiercest and heaviest attacks were aimed at the Third Army north of the river Ancre. Morning mist and heavy rain meant poor visibility. Shellfire went on all day, gas was used extensively, but by the end of day an initial German breakthrough had been beaten back. There were very heavy German casualties and Ludendorff ordered attacks to be stopped.

The Lancashire battalions were particularly severely hit and the British Official History quotes a total of 177,739 men of Britain and the Commonwealth lost as killed, wounded and missing in this battle. Of these, just under 15,000 died. George Thomas Goode died of wounds on 16 May, six weeks after the battle. The 32nd Diviison had no major engagement during this time so he may well have received his fatal injury at the Ancre.

He is buried in Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, in Souchez, a village just north of Arras on the main road to Bethune. Many of the names on his grave registration are from the 15th Lancashire and other North West regiments. The cemetery was used by various fighting units and was greatly enlarged in the years after the war when as many as 7,000 graves were concentrated here from over 100 other cemeteries in the area. Today it holds over 7,650 burials of the First World War, over half of which remain unidentified.