No.43029, Private, George LONG
7th Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment
George William Long was born in Soham (Newmarket Q1-1887 3B:539), son of George and Caroline LONG (née WELLS).
1891 census...Aged 4, he was at East Fen Common, Soham with his father George LONG  farm labourer; his mother Caroline ; sisters Kate  and May ; brothers Herbert  and Harry  both farm labourers. All were born in Soham.
1901 census... Aged 14, farm labourer, he was at East Fen, Soham with his widower father, brother Herbert (farm labourer), sisters Ada  and May and niece Elis LONG [1 month) born Soham., perhaps a cousin, it is not known who were her parents. His mother had died in 1896.
1911 census...Aged 22, a farm labourer, he was at East Fen Common with his widower father (now a hedger/tree feller), brother in law George ROBINSON  farm labourer, born in Newmarket sister May ROBINSON and their son George Robinson [7 months] born Soham. Also cousins Elsie LONG  and Bert LONG .
His brother in law George ROBINSON was killed in France in 1915 see here
Enlisted in Bury St Edmunds.
The 7th Leicesters were trying to hold off the Germans at Epehy on the 2nd day of the German Spring Offensive, "the Kaiserschlacht". The Germans were gambling all on one last effort to win the war and using storm trooper tactics were pushing rapidly westwards, over running the weakened Allied forces. All along the front in the Somme the Germans were rolling back the Allies. The Leicester's war diary has:-
Epehy - 22nd - During the night the enemy rushed forward his field and heavy guns and in the early morning he opened an intense bombardment on the RED LINE PEIZIERE and the YELLOW LINE.Under a heavy barrage he attacked the RED LINE but was driven off.
10 a.m. - About this hour news was received that the enemy had captured St EMIKIE and the southern end of EPEHY and the 8th Bn Leics had been ordered to form a defensive on the EPEHY-SAULCOURT road.To combine with this and to cover the right rear of PEIZIERE a second defensive flank facing S was made with every available man from Bn HQtrs between YELLOW SUPPORT LINE and CHAUFOURS WEOOD.
11 a.m. - As it was seen that the enemy were entering EPEHY in force from the south the two tanks were ordered forward to check his advance and if possible clear EPEHY. The enemy retired on seeing their approach and they reported having inflicted heavy casualties.Unfortunately they were running out of petrol and as the engines required repairs they were unable to proceed further and attempting to withdraw to SAULCOURT both were knocked out.
12 a.m. - About this hour orders were received to withdraw the Bn behind the BROWN LINE and centrate at LONGAVESNES.
12.15 p.m. - Orders were issued for the withdrawal- up to this hour Captain Vanner M.C. was still holding the RED LINE and driving off every attack made on it. After the withdrawal of his Coy he waited to superintend the demolition of both the bridges over the cutting. This was successfully carried out. The withdrawal of the Bn and the extrication of the posts in PEIZIERE was a matter of some difficulty as by the time of the receipt of the order by the Coys, the enemy was in occupation of EPEHY and firing in from the N. The withdrawal was made under heavy maching gun fire from the SE and NE and a considerable number of casualties were incurred during it.
3:30 p.m. - Bn reorganised in valley just W of LONGAVESNES and received orders to march to AIZECOURT le HAUT.
6 p.m. - Bn arrived and went into camp. Men had a hot eal.
The Leicesters had 272 killed on 22nd, 57 from the 7th Battalion.
photo: Roy Beardsworth
photo: Roy Beardsworth
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