LAYTON, George

No. 41512, Private, George William LAYTON
Aged 30

18th ( Glasgow Yeomanry) Battalion, Highland Light Infantry
formerly 14665 8th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Monday 25th March, 1918

Born in Fordham in 30th August 1887, baptised at Fordham 6th November 1887, [Newmarket 3b:548] son of George and Sarah LAYTON (née PATTLE), of Newtons Cottages , Landwade Road, Exning

1891 census...At Newtons Cottages, Exning were George William [3] with his father George [29] an agr.labourer born Soham, his mother Sarah [29] born Fordham and his brother Sidney [1] born Fordham. Also there were Thomas PATTLE [9] given as son, born Fordham and a lodger William PATTLE [20] Agr.labourer born Fordham. It is more than likely the latter was Sarah's brother

1901 census...At 1 Mill Cottages, Landwade were George [13] a farm labourer, his parents, Thomas PATTLE [19] also a farm labourer and still given as son, brothers Sidney [11], Benjamin [4] born Exning, and sisters Edith [8] born Landwade and Sophy [7] born Exning.

1911 census...At Chalk Farm, Landwade were George William [23] farm labourer, his parents, brothers Sidney [21] a poultry man, Benjamin [14] a farm labourer and John [9] born Landwade. His sisters were originally entered on the census and then crossed out as they were servants at 51 Babington Road, Streatham, London.

The date of his transfer from the Suffolks is not known. In March the 18th HLI were in the area around Poperinghe, near Ypres, acting as a reserve Division and were ordered south, reaching Heilly at 12.45pm on the 24th and marched to the Carnoy Valley, arriving at 9pm. Positions were taken up on the Maricourt-Briqueterie Road with an outpost line running from Trones Wood to Favieres Wood.
On the 25th the 18th HLI were being heavily attacked near Briqueterie. They were forced back but a reinforcement by the 19th Durham LI restored the line and even allowed an advance of about 200yards. Taking advantage of this movement the 12th HLI advanced from Maricourt Wood under the personal command of Col. Anderson and drove the Germans back toward Faviere Wood. Col. Anderson was killed in this attack and was subsequently awarded the VC for his gallantry that day At 7pm the 18th HLI was once again attacked and being exhausted and short of ammuniton was driven back although they once again rallied and recovered the lost ground. That night the Division was ordered to fall back via Carnoy, Mametz, Fricourt then by road leading W from Happy Valley. 12th and 18th HLI were detailed as rearguard. The 18th HLI remained in the line till 3am and passed Carnoy at 5am. (Information from History of 35th Division by Lt Col HM Davson).
42 of the 18th Battalion died that day.

George's entry in "Our Exning Heroes" reads as follows:

Layton G.W.   8th Suffolks
George William Layton joined up at the beginning of the war and went out to France in July 1915. He was killed in action on March 25th, 1918, his death being instantaneous. A second lieutenant writes to his mother as follows:
"All officers, N.C.O.s and men join in expressing to you their deepest sympathy in your sad loss. I have not been very long with this battalion, but during the short period it has been my fortune to be with them, I found your son to be one of the best, and personally I am indeed sorry that he has fallen. It will be a relief to you to know that he did not suffer in any way. His remains were duly interred behind the battle-line."
His parents live at Chalk Farm, Landwade and before the war he worked on the farm. He was educated partly at Exning and partly at Fordham. He was thirty when he died.

No Known Grave
George is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial, France...Ref: panel 72

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details