Private George Stoneley was a member of the Cheshire Regiment. He died on 6 September 1917 aged just 19 and he is remembered on the Tattenhall War Memorial and at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery.
Private George Stoneley's story is remarkable because (unusually) we have so many images of George Stoneley and because his mother (by then a widow) was a pivotal figure in the Tattenhall community, owning and running the corner shop at No. 1 High Street which was a grocery and tobacconist shop. The images included with this story show Private George Stoneley in uniform and pictured centre with the football in a group image with his Battalion. An image of Mary Stoneley's corner shop where Private George Stoneley lived is also shown. Just click on each image to enlarge.
On leaving school and before joining the Cheshire Regiment, George Stoneley was employed as a Telegraph Messenger with Tattenhall Post Office.
During the First World War, the village of Lijssenthoek was situated on the main communication line between the Allied military bases in the rear and the Ypres battlefields. Close to the Front, but out of the extreme range of most German field artillery, it became a natural place to establish casualty clearing stations. The cemetery was first used by the French 15th Hopital D'Evacuation and in June 1915 it began to be used by casualty clearing stations of the Commonwealth forces. It is obvious that the wounded George Stoneley was brought to one of these casualty clearing stations, a newspaper report suggesting that he was dead on arrival with a severe wound to the abdomen. That George Stoneley has a 'known grave' is common in cemeteries which were close to casualty clearing stations – the wounded soldiers would have been treated, identified and, for those who died from their injuries, subsequently buried in marked graves.
Particular thanks to John Stoneley (surviving relative) who has provided the information relating to this story – the full story relating to Private George Stoneley can be viewed on the Tattenhall Local History Website by CLICKING HERE.