George John Thatcher

Memorial: Olveston

Regiment: Bedfordshire Regiment

Medals: British War Medal, Next of Kin Memorial Plaque 1914 - 1921, Victory Medal

Rank and number: Private 271017

Parents: John and Clara Thatcher

Marital status: Married

Home address: St Albans, Herts

Pre-war occupation: Groom

Date of birth: 1886

Place of birth: Tidworth, Wilts

Date of death: 02/11/1918

Buried/Commemorated at: Les Baraques Military Cemetery (VI. C. 4A.), Sangatte, Calais, France

Age: 32

Further information:

George was born in Marlborough, Wiltshire to John and Clara Thatcher, who lived in nearby Lockeridge. By 1901 George’s father was in West Overton working as a groom, having previously been a whipper-in of foxhounds in Sutton Verny. At this time the family, comprising older brother William, three sisters Alice, Mary and Kate, and younger brother Arthur, moved back to Hitchin in Hertfordshire near where Mrs Thatcher had been raised. George’s mother and sister Kate worked as laundresses in the household of Sopwell Park in St. Albans, while George followed his father’s footsteps and became a groom

George met Lena, who was of the Hiron family from Aust, while he was working as a groom on Major Harford’s estate at Old Down House, where Lena’s father was a gamekeeper. After their marriage in 1910 George and Lena lived in the St Albans area where daughters Elsie and Winifred were born with a son George arriving in 1916, the year in which George senior joined the Hertfordshire Yeomanry, having been attested and put on the reserve list in December 1915. In France from the end of 1916, George was transferred to the 1st Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment. During 1917 George was brought back to England suffering from a hernia, dysentery and diarrhoea, but after convalescence was able to rejoin his unit. In August 1918 he was hospitalised in France with bronchitis, pharyngitis and injury to the larynx

It is known that the 1st Battalion was in France at Caudry to the east of Cambrai, for the last week of October 1918 and that George suffered in a German gas attack. It was while recovering from the effects of the gas that George contracted pneumonia and influenza. He was in No 10 Canadian Hospital at Clerques, south-east of Calais, when he died on November the 2nd 1918 at the age of 32. He is buried in Les Baraques Military Cemetery at Sangatte, Calais, France

George's older brother William served as a dispatch rider in the Royal Engineers in Egypt and survived the war, while younger brother Arthur was discharged from the army because of ill health after serving in the Dardanelles in 1915. George’s widow Lena returned to her Severnside roots and her children, young George, Winifred and Elsie were brought up at Old Down in Yew Tree Cottage

By kind permission, this information is based on the following source(s):

Forces War Records and CWGC