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George Appleyard

Date of birth: 1881
Date of death: 12.2.1917
Area: Outwood
Regiment: King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Family information: Husband of Ann Appleyard nee Jackson
Rank: Private
Service number: 30942

War Service

George Appleyard enlisted in June 1916, joining the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. After some initial training in England, Private Appleyard was posted to France, in November 1916. He was drafted to the 2nd Battalion, Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. The 2nd KOYLI was part of 97th Brigade, 32nd Division, who had just been relieved after fighting on the Ancre, during the Battle of the Somme.
The 2nd KOYLI had been in France since 16th August 1914 and had been involved in many battles, including the defence of Le Cateau and the subsequent withdrawal to the Marne. The battalion was also involved at the second battle of Ypres. On the 1st July 1916, the opening day of the Battle of the Somme, the 2nd KOYLI incurred 340 casualties, during an attack near the village of Authuille
On 10th February 1917, the 97th Infantry Brigade was deployed to a local operation against the German Salient, north of the River Ancre. One of the objectives was to drive the enemy out of Ten Tree Alley. At 20.30 hrs. the infantry advanced behind the artillery’s creeping barrage, with 2nd KOYLI in the centre of the brigade line. According to the war diary “the night was dark and the ground was firmly frozen.” From then on the battle commenced, in conjunction with the Northumberland Fusiliers and Border Regiment, to push the enemy back from Ten Tree Alley. This was mostly accomplished although one enemy post proved to be stubborn, repulsing two attacks from C Company of the 2nd Battalion. Two hours later “B” and “C” Companies, in the centre of the KOYLI line, reported some success and started sending back prisoners. However there was no news from either “A” or “D” Companies until 02.45hrs, when “A” Company reported they had gained their objective. At 04.20 hrs, “D” Company reported contact had been established with the battalion on its left. The brigade held their positions throughout the day until relieved the following morning. The 2nd KOYLI was relieved at 06.00 hrs and went into Reserve at Beaumont Hamel. In all 193 prisoners were taken by the battalion, but the 2nd KOYLI incurred 185 casualties, including 15 killed.
One of these casualties was Private George Appleyard who, on 12th February 1917, was reported missing but later found to have been killed in action. He was buried at Ten Tree Alley Cemetery, Puisieux, which is a village about 20 km south of Arras. The cemetery stands beside a former German trench, captured by the 32nd Division on the night of 10th-11th February 1917. There are now 70 war graves in the cemetery, 20 of which are unidentified.

Family Life

George Appleyard was born in 1881, the eldest son of Alfred and Sophie Appleyard of Lofthouse Gate. On 22nd July 1881, George was baptised at St Mary Magdalene Church, Outwood. After leaving school he worked for his father, who was a joiner and undertaker with premises at Lofthouse Gate. At the time of the 1901 census, George Appleyard and Ann Jackson, with her 14 day old son, were boarding at the home of Isabella Mitchell, at Laycock’s Yard, Wakefield. Shortly afterwards, in the spring of 1901, George and Ann Jackson were married. George was working for his father prior to enlisting and lived at Lawns Lane, Carr Gate, Outwood, with his wife and their two children. In 1911 George Appleyard was living on Waggon Road, Outwood with his wife Ann and children Willie (10) and Lucy (8). He was a joiner and born in Lofthousegate. Their children were both baptized on 13th August 1905 at Lawns Mission Church as at that time they were living at Carr Gate. William was said to have been born on 19th March 1901and Lucy 30th September 1902.

Ten Tree Alley Cemetery showing the Cross of Sacrifice Ten Tree Alley Cemetery

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