GEORGE ARTHUR NORTH

Private 28845, 2nd Battalion Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment)

Killed in Action 9 April 1917

Commemorated on Bay 6, Course A of the Arras Memorial


Private George North was the son of Abraham (or Abram) and Emma North (née Pattison).  Abraham was a miner and he and Emma were living with her parents in 1891 at Burnley’s Buildings in Millbridge. By then George was 7 years old and his brother John was 5.  By 1896 the family were at Hill Street, Heckmondwike and on 17 August John and his younger brother Goodwin, aged 5, were baptised at George Street Independent Chapel.  Abram died on 17 December 1899 in Dewsbury Infirmary, leaving effects to the value of £44 to Emma and their three sons.  John North married Rhoda Yeomans from Staincliffe in March 1909, with George as a witness.

In 1911 the family was still in Hill Street with Emma (48), George (27), Goodwin (19) and Ernest (9).  George married 20 year old Elizabeth Tetley on 24 February 1912 in Birstall Parish Church.  Elizabeth lived on Bradford Road, Birkenshaw, though she and a younger sister Emily were born in Jamestown, Virginia.

George enlisted on 9 December 1915 in the 3rd Battalion West Riding Regiment and was immediately placed on Reserve until 15 August 1916.  At that date he gave his address as 13 Beauregard Street, Heckmondwike; he was 32; employed as a dyers’ labourer and he was 5ft 5 ins tall.  After training he left England for France on 10 January 1917 and joined the 2nd Battalion on 14 January 1917.  On Easter Monday, 9 April 1917, as part of the 12th Infantry Brigade the Battalion prepared for an attack on the German lines in the Fampoux area to the south of Vimy Ridge.  Moving toward the trenches in cold sleety weather the Brigade was caught in the open by shellfire and suffered casualties.  At 4:15pm the 2nd Battalion West Riding Regiment moved forward and captured the enemy held village of Fampoux but took casualties from machine gun fire to the right of their line.  Brigade losses that day were 153 ‘other ranks’, one of whom was George North.

In July 1917 the records show that George had been owed £2 19s 10d in pay but 10s 9d in deductions were taken from that total and Mrs North was sent the balance of £2 9s 1d on 25 July 1917.  The pensions ministry confirmed on 20 October 1917 that Mrs North’s pension would be 13s 9d a week from 22 October 1917.  On 13 April 1918, 27 year old Elizabeth North married William Talbot, 31, a miner from Dewsbury.  Mrs North would lose her pension at that date.

In 1919 there was some confusion about who should receive the scroll and memorial plaque (the so-called ‘death penny’) given to the family of all service people killed in the Great War.  In June 1919 a standard form to start that process was sent from York Records Office addressed to Mrs E North at 13 Beauregard Street but this was evidently delivered to George‘s mother, Mrs E North, at Hill Street.  Mrs North completed the form with details of surviving family members and said that George’s widow had remarried but Mrs North did not know her address.
 
On 18 August 1919 George’s widow, now Mrs Talbot, wrote to the Records Office saying she had recently learnt that the Records Office had written to her in June but she had not received the letter and could she be told of the letter’s contents.  The Records Office replied promptly to Mrs Talbot at her new address at 98 Back Thornton Street, Dewsbury.  They sent a new ‘death penny’ form to Mrs Talbot for her to complete and said that Mrs Talbot’s form would be ‘substituted’ for that completed by the soldier’s mother.  The War Grant of £3 was sent to Mrs Talbot on 24 October 1919, the British War Medal and Victory Medal in April 1921.

George has no known grave and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial.  His brother John after service with KOYLI, The Lincolnshire Regiment and the Labour Corps was killed on 23 October 1918 during an attack on Ovilliers with the 1st Battalion Wiltshire Regiment.  He is buried in Ovilliers New Communal Cemetery, Solesmes, France and commemorated on the Batley War Memorial.  His widow Rhoda married Fred Parkinson in 1920.  The younger brother, Goodwin, served with the Lincolnshire Regiment and was still in France with the Labour Corps, with the number 9190, as late as June 1919.  He married Anne Denton in 1920.
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