George Priestley Townend was born in June 1893, the son of Alfred E Townend and his wife Annie. He was educated at Bellevue Secondary School, Bradford. In 1909 he went to work for Bradford District Bank, and in June 1913 he moved to Beckett & Co of Leeds.
In autumn 1914 Townend left the bank to join the army, becoming a Private in the West Yorkshire Regiment. He was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1 July 1916. He was 23 years old. Two of his fellow Beckett's clerks, also both serving in the West Yorkshire Regiment, died on the Somme on the same day.