LANCASTER, George William

No.10894, Guardsman, George William LANCASTER
Aged 24

3rd/5th Reserve Battalion, Coldstream Guards
Died of his Wounds on Monday, 10th January 1917

George Lancaster was born on 9th July 1893 in Stetchworth (Newmarket Q3-1893 3B:491), son of Henry Reginald and Sarah Ann LANCASTER (née GREEN). His birth registration is recorded as LANCESTER.

1901 census...Aged 7, he was at High Street, Stetchworth with his father Henry LANCASTER [45] a general labourer; his mother Sarah A. [38] born Chippenham; brothers Thomas A. [14] and Arthur [12], both labourers, sister Beatrice [5], brother Thomas [2] and twins Mary A and Joseph [ 8 months]. All except his mother were born in Stetchworth.

1911 census...Aged 17, a farm labourer, he was at High Street, Stetchworth with his parents, brother Arthur (a stableman), sister Beatrice, brother Thomas [12], the twins Annie and Joseph, and brother Frederick [7] and sister Maud [5]. 3 of Sarah's 14 children had died.

Brother Arthur seems to have moved north as he enlisted in Wakefield, was married with two children and was awarded the Military Medal, survived the war and was demobbed as Regimental Quarter Master Sergeant in the York and Lancaster Regiment. Much of his service record is also available from the burnt documents, on line via Ancestry.
There was a brother Alfred who became a Church Army Captain in Bournemouth.

He enlisted in Coventry on 6th August 1914, joining the Reserve Battalion, Coldstream Guards at Caterham on 11th August 1914.
He gave his age as 21 and 28 days, a factory labourer, born in Stetchworth. 5' 9.75" (177.2 cm) tall, weighing 144 lbs (65.3 kg) and a chest of 37" to 40" (94 to 101.6 cm), with light brown hair and blue eyes.
Promoted to unpaid Lance Corporal on 22nd October 1914 and Lance Corporal on 11th November 1914 when posted to the 2nd Battalion and sent to join the BEF. He was demoted to Private on 2nd January 1915 ( no reason found). On 13th May 1915 he was attached to 4th Guards Brigade, Trench Mortar Battery
On 2nd June 1915 at La Bassee he suffered a gunshot wound to the head ( a wound to his right temple), sent to No 2 CCS ( near Bailleul), admitted to 13th General Hospital in Boulogne on 7th June. Posted seriously ill on 13th June and on 15th June repatriated to U.K. and to King George Hospital, Stamford where a piece of shell was removed on 16th June 1915.
Now posted to the 4th Battalion he was discharged to furlough on 11th October 1915 and sent to Dorton House, Thame and then on to 3rd Southern General Hospital in Oxford. His condition then worsened. Two operations to his skull slightly improved his condition with some paralysis and headaches persisting. Although his mental condition was good he had complete paralysis of the left arm, slight movement in his left leg and continuous headaches. He was marked down as total incapacity for the labour market and recommended for discharge. and then on 12th August 1916 posted to the 5th Battalion. He was discharged as no longer physically fit for war service on 22nd September 1916. It appears that either he never reached the front line by 22nd November, or his relatives failed to claim the clasp to his 1914 Star
His next of kin details were his parents Henry and Sarah at "near the Chapel" Stetchworth, and his elder brother Alfred Thomas in Parkstone, Dorset

At the time of his wounding the Coldstreams were apparently not involved in any action, they only had one man killed in the week, so perhaps George was the unfortunate victim of a sniper or a stray shell.

On 20th November 1918 King George V declared that in recognition of their outstanding feats that Privates in the Foot Guards would be known as "Guardsman". This was made retrospective and CWGC will change "Private" to "Guardsman" whenever a replacement stone or memorial panel is required.

George Lancaster is buried in Stetchworth (St Peter's) Churchyard Extension

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