Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
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201602   Private George Greer
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Dated added: 30/12/2015   Last updated: 12/02/2019
Personal Details
Regiment/Service: 75th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Canadian Army)
Date Of Birth: 10/01/1890
Died: 02/09/1918 (Killed in Action)
Age: 28
Summary      
George Greer was born on 10th January 1890 at Tievenagh, Parish of Ardtrea. He was a son of William and Letitia Greer (nee McIvor). In 1901 he was living on the family farm at Tamlaght, Coagh. George worked in a hardware shop in Maghera before emigrating to He married a Canadian girl, Annie, in December 1915 and they had one son, George, who was born in 1917.He enlisted in the Canadian Infantry in October 1915. His height is recorded as five feet five inches and his weight as 126lbs. During August 1918 the Canadians opened an offensive on the German front lines near the village of Dury and it was during this offensive that George was killed in action on 2nd September. It is believed that George was killed as they tried to make their way across this open countryside.
Private George Greer
Further Information
George Greer was a son of William and Letitia Greer, nee McIvor.
George Greer was born on 10th January 1890 at Tievenagh, Parish of Ardtrea. He was one of ten children, eight surviving.
Family: William Greer, Letitia Greer, Annie Greer (born about 1881), William Greer (born about 1883), Robert Greer (born about 1884), Sarah Greer (born about 1886), Cissie Greer (born about 1888), George Greer (born about 1890), James Greer (born about 1892), John Greer (born about 1894), Fred Greer (born about 1896), Daisy Greer (born about 1900).
The 1901 census lists George as age 11, living with the family at house 4 in Tamlaght, Orritor, Cookstown, County Tyrone. They were a farming family.
The 1911 census does not list George as living with the family at house 5 in Tamlaght, Orritor.
George worked in a hardware shop in Maghera for a time.
George Greer emigrated to Canada.
George moved to Toronto where he worked in the famous hardware shop of Eaton’s.
Eaton's store factory, Toronto, 1901
He married Annie, in December 1915 and they had one son, George, who was born in 1917.
George Greer originally enlisted in the 95th Battalion of the Canadian Infantry in October 1915. His height is recorded as five feet five inches and his weight as 126lbs.
The Canadian training camp was at Bramshott and it was here that he subsequently transferred to the 157th, then the 116th and finally 75th Canadian Regiment, and on 17th May the Regiment embarked for France.
The Battalion embarked for England in October 1916.
A letter from George to his mother, dated 9 November 1916 : (Reply to Company A - Bat. 157th Regt.- Nov 9th 1916 Stationed at Bramshott, Hants Eng)
Letter from George Greer  to his mother 1/4  9 Nov 1916
Letter from George Greer  to his mother 2/4  9 Nov 1916
Letter from George Greer  to his mother 3/4  9 Nov 1916
Letter from George Greer  to his mother 4/4  9 Nov 1916
“Dear Mother, Just a few lines to let you know I got parcel this morning I was surprised when I got a PC from Cissy yesterday saying you had sent a parcel. Thank very much it was very good of you to send it so soon. We det lots to eat here but I like some bread for a change Home made bread I mean. The bread was a little dry but not bad a few of the boys and I enjoyed a good feed of it. Well Dear Mother our Battn has been broken up since I came back about 200 went to France a few weeks ago. The rest of us were sent to other Battn's yesterday, only 200 men who are having musketry on the ranges I was left with them as their signaller for a few days until they got finished shooting Then I think we are going to the 116th Battn which is stationed in Witley that is a few miles from here. The Battn being broken up and some men going to France means that the rest of us will be here for the winter. I am very glad things here went the way they did. I am sorry to say I will be unable to get home for Xmas. There are so many ammunition workers who do not get holidays during the year so they are getting a few days at Xmas also a lot of returned soldiers are getting a few days The Railway boys will be so busy that it is impossible to carry them all. Therefore all soldiers stationed in England cannot get off for Xmas. I will get a few days later on in the winter. If you should like to send a small parcel do not do until I write again in a few days and give you my new address. I guess I would get it but with the Battn being separated some at Witley and some here it is liable to go astray and I would be a long time before I would get it. It will be all right for to send letters instead of putting Sig Corps on letters put D Company for it is that company I am here with at present most of the signallers have gone to Witley. Well Dear Mother I have got lots of mail lately I had a letter from Aunt Sarah one from Bob and Bill George. I answered them all this morning for I had lots of time as it was raining we did not go out on drill to-day. We have a nice walk to the ranges every day it is 8 miles there and 8 back I enjoy the walking fine we be home early every afternoon. I think this is all I have got to say at present. Hoping this will find you all well at home. It leaves me fine. With love to Father you and all at home. I will write soon again.I remain your loving son George xxx Address: 201602 Pte G. Greer D Coy 157th Battn CEF Bramshott Nants England”
A letter from George to his mother, dated 23 January 1917: (Witley Camp Surrey England 23.1.17)
Letter from George Greer  to his mother 1/1 23 Jan 1917
“My Dear Mother , Just a few lines to let you know I am well I had a little surprise yesterday I got a letter from Uncle Jim. He is in hospital in London, I am going to try and get a pass and go and see him. He seems to be in good spirits he says he will soon be alright. Well Dear Mother I hope you are all well at home that you and Father have got quite well again. ..................lovely box from Canada to-day from the Mrs this tie or muffler was in it and as it is not much good to me, perhaps you could wear it around your throat when you are going out. You can say you are wearing something that came from Canada although it is not up to much. I sent Uncle Jim a nice little present. I am sure he will appreciate it in Hospital. I think I will close now hoping you are quite well. Remember me to Father and all the rest. I remain your Loving Son +++ George +++ PS. Mrs and baby are well.”
A letter from George to his mother, dated 12 June 1917: (France 12.6.17)
Letter from George Greer  to his mother 1/2 12 June 1917
Letter from George Greer  to his mother 2/2 12 June 1917
“My Dear Mother, Just a few lines to let you know I am well. I hope this will find you all ... at home. Well Dear Mother do not worry about me for I am quite safe and will be for a long time. I am having a good time. I like France fine I had a letter from Uncle Jim a few days ago. He said he was well and heard from home often, he said he did not expect to come to France again, that he was going in a home service Battn. I think he has done his bit by the time I do as long the war will be over. We are having lovely weather at present. I guess you are very busy at home. Well Mother I guess you will soon be going to Portsmouth for your summer holidays. I may spend a few days there myself before the season is over. Enclosed card is not up to much but it is the best I could get at present. It is a remembrance from France. Well Dear Mother I guess I will ring off at present. Remember me to Father and all at home. Hoping you are all well. I remain your Loving Son +++ George +++ PS. I had a letter from the Mrs yesterday, baby and her are well. She was pleased to hear from you. She sent your letter on to me some time ago but I had to send it back to her again. G.”
A letter from George to his mother, dated 1 September 1917
Letter from George Greer  to his mother 1/6 1 Sept 1917
Letter from George Greer  to his mother 2/6 1 Sept 1917
Letter from George Greer  to his mother 3/6 1 Sept 1917
Letter from George Greer  to his mother 4/6 1 Sept 1917
Letter from George Greer  to his mother 5/6 1 Sept 1917
Letter from George Greer  to his mother 6/6 1 Sept 1917
“My Dear Mother, Just a few lines in answer to your kind and welcome letter of Aug 24th to hand to-day. I am glad to hear you are all well at home. This leaves me A1. I see by your letter you had Uncle Jim home for a few days. I am glad to hear he is got well again. He certainly is doing some travelling around. I wrote to him several times and had the letters returned to me again. I guess I will hear from him soon now that he has my correct address. Well Mother I shall be glad to get the "Mid Ulster" it will give me an idea how times are ... home. I will see how the Ulster Men are getting along ... France. I can tell your S. Espy got a good long pass. I am sure he has worked hard for he must have been in France for a long time. Perhaps I will get one in a short time for I think the war cannot last much longer. I did not get the parcel from the Kildress W.S. yet but I expect I will get it soon. It was very good of them to send it. They must be doing their part as regards sending parcels to they boys. I think Ulster is doing her part in every way. If the rest of Ireland would follow suit it would be alright but the y certainly are good and yellow The have got cold feet alright. I am glad to hear that Fred has got the flax pulled at is too bad it was not a better crop. I think the weather has been pretty wet all over this summer. The Mrs told me they have had a pretty wet summer in Canada. As regards France we got lots of rain but the weather is very good at present. We are having a very good time so we cannot grumble. I am surprised you have not heard from Annie lately. I guess you will get a letter soon. I had a letter from her a few days ago she said baby and her were very well. I had a letter from Lizzie and BG a short time ago. BG. said he was out at Orritor for 2 weeks and had a good time. I had a letter from Aunt S. She said she was at Orritor for a short time. I guess she went to see Uncle Jim when he was home. Well Dear Mother I think you should go to Portrush for your usual summer holiday. I think I will go there for a few days next time I get home in the near future. Well Dear Mother I think I will close at present. With love to Father and all at home. Hoping this will find you all quite well. I remain your Loving Son George”
During August 1918 the Canadians opened an offensive on the German front lines near the village of Dury. The offensive lasted from 26th August to 5th September and it was during this offensive that Private George Greer was killed in action on 2nd September 1918.
On the day he died, the 4th Division, which included the 75th Battalion, attacked close to the village of Dury. This is very open countryside over flat farm land and enemy machine-gun fire caused heavy losses. It is believed that George was killed as they tried to make their way across this open countryside.
The Canadian Circumstances of Death Register records that Private Greer was killed in action on 8th September 1918. He was killed in the attack on Drocourt-Queant Switch Line, during the attack and capture of the ridge and the Sunken Road beyond, between the town of Dury and the Arras-Cambrai Road, a few hundred yards north of the road.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 24th October 1918:
At Curragh L.O.L. 855 the following resolution was passed in silence on the motion of Brother S McKeown, seconded by Brother W Hyndman:- ‘That we have learned with deep regret of the death of Brother George Greer of the Canadians, who was formerly one of our most esteemed and popular members, and who was killed in action in France on 2nd September, and we beg to tender to his relatives our heartfelt sympathy in their sad bereavement.’
Private G Greer is buried in Dury Mill Cemetery, France.
George Greer gravestone
After his death his wife Annie and son George returned to Tamlaght.
George's wife was not a Canadian, as was assumed but an English orphan who was sent to Canada with her brothers and sisters from London. Her name was Annie Elizabeth Fern. After George's death she moved with her son.
George Greer is commemorated on Cookstown Cenotaph and Orritor Presbyterian Roll of Honour, Cookstown.
Read more
Relevant Cookstown Area Locations
No Location Region Location Notes Longtitude Latitude
1 Tamlaght, Orritor Orritor Census listing in Tamlaght 54.656757 -6.813406
2 Tievenagh, Ardtrea Cookstown East Born in Tievenagh, Ardtrea 54.623577 -6.679253
References and Links
No Link Reference Map Doc
1 1901 Census lists Greer family 1901 census lists George as age 11 at house 4 in Tamlaght, Oritor, Tyrone
2 1911 Census lists Greer family 1911 census does not list George at house 5 in Tamlaght, Oritor, Tyrone
3 A letter from George Greer to his mother Includes images of the actual letters. Dated : 1 September 1917
4 A letter from George Greer to his mother Includes images of the actual letters. Dated : 12 June 1917
5 A letter from George Greer to his mother Includes images of the actual letters. Dated : 23 January 1917
6 A letter from George Greer to his mother Includes images of the actual letters. Dated : 9 November 1916
7 Canadian Great War Project Details of Private George Greer
8 Canadian Virtual War Memorial Details of Private George Greer
9 Circumstances of Death Registers Details of Private George Greer's death
10 Eaton's Store, Toronto Eaton's store factory, Toronto, 1901
11 George Greer - No Attestation Papers Canadian Military documents (48 no.)
12 George Greer profile Includes photo, and information of his early life.
Cookstown District's War Dead Acknowledgements 2010-2020