George Walter Platts Gilleard

lincolnshire regimental badgePrivate, 241499, 2/5th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, killed in action, 26th September 1917, aged 23

Born at Garthorpe in 1894, George was the middle of the three sons of Thomas and Hannah Gilleard. His father was a wheelwright who later set up a business as a carter and coal merchant. In 1911 George and his brother William were horseman for George Jacklin of Fockerby Hall.

George enlisted in the Lincolnshire Regiment at Scunthorpe probably in 1915. He had tried to enlist in the army before the war but had been rejected. He was rejected for a second time when he tried again on the outbreak of war. Eventually being accepted he was posted to the 2/5th (Territorial) Battalion, where he served in the Lewis Gun Section.

The 2/5th Lincoln’s were stationed at home until April 1916 when they were hurriedly posted to Dublin, with the 177th Brigade in 59th Division, to assist in putting down the Irish nationalist rebellion. They stayed in Ireland until January 1917 when the Division were withdrawn for transfer to France, arriving the following month. Initially posted to the Somme they participated there during the German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line.

In August 1917 the 2/5th Lincoln’s were withdrawn from the Somme to participate in the Third Battle of Ypres. Moving up to the front on 24th September, on 26th September they participated in the Battle of Polygon Wood where their objective was the strongpoint of Dochy Farm.

For the attack the 2/5th Lincoln’s advanced on a two-company frontage, B on the right, D on the left, C in support, and A in reserve, with orders to provide carrying parties. D on the left met with practically no resistance and dug a strong point north of Dochy Farm, sending a platoon to assist B Company in capturing the Farm. B Company attacking the Farm as their final objective, met with machine-gun and rifle-fire, but worked to the flanks of the block-houses, whereupon the Germans surrendered, capturing 50 prisoners.

The battalion then consolidated a line of strong points from the Farm to the strong point constructed by D Company. Shortly afterwards these captured strong points were subjected to a heavy retaliatory bombardment, the captured pill boxes being especially targeted.

In the attack and the retaliatory artillery bombardment that followed at Dochy Farm, Polygon Wood, the 2/5th Lincolnshire Regiment sustained 14 men killed, 209 wounded and 74 missing. One of the casualties was George Gilleard. He has no known grave and is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial.

George is the second name down in the right column on the Roll of Honour. At the time it was created his parent’s still held out hope he might return as he is not recorded as having died in the war.

George was the cousin of Joseph Gilleard.  W.H.P (William) is George’s brother who did survive.