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  • This photo was first published in the Retford Times following the death of George Ostick
Person Details
He was the son of John Henry and Mary Elizabeth Ostick. John Henry was born at Rampton and Mary Elizabeth B Anderson at Sturton-le-Steeple. They were married in 1888 (Jan/Feb/Mar) and according to the information given on the 1911 census they had 13 children born alive of whom only 10 were still living at the time of the 1911 census. Eleven children were named on the census between 1891 and 1911; Annie Elizabeth, George (1890), Harry Wright (1892), Frederick (Fred), Millicent Louise (Millie, 1896), Doris Margaret (1898, d. 1901), Charles Leslie (Leslie, 1903), Kathleen Gertrude (Kittie, 1906), Sarah Ellen (Nellie, 1908), Mabel (1910) and one unnamed child who at the time of the 1911 census was 1 month old (possibly a daughter, Mary W.). All the children were born in Retford. In 1891 John (34) and Mary (32) were living on St John's Street, East Retford, with their two children, Annie (3) and George (7 months). John was working as a life assurance agent. By 1901 they had moved to 25 Water Lane, East Retford, and John was now a grocers' assistant. They had six children; Annie, George, Harry (8), Fred (6), Millie (4) and Doris (3). Their youngest child, Doris, died the same year, aged 3 (death registered Oct/Nov/Dec). John and Mary were still living at the same address ten years later although John was now working as a 'fellmonger' in an industry described as 'skinyard'. Eight children were in the household on the night of the census: Harry, Fred, Millie, Leslie (7), Kittie (5), Nellie (2), Mabel (1) and 'infant Ostick (1 month). Two of George's brothers also died in the war: Frederick, who served in the 2nd Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment) (Private 13611) and was killed in action on 16 September 1916 (Thiepval Memorial), and Harry, who served in the Royal Marine Light Infantry (Chatham Division) and was killed when HMS Formidable was lost on 1 January 1915 (Chatham Naval Memorial). Both their parents died in 1931; their mother's death was registered in June (age 61 b. abt. 1870), and their father's death in December (age 66, b. abt. 1865).
16 Aug 1917
452863 - CWGC Website
Retford Nottinghamshire
9th Bn Royal Irish Fusiliers
It was Winston Churchill who had become First Lord of the Admiralty at the outbreak of war, having immediately alienated Ottoman Turkey by seizing two Turkish battleship being built in British yards, who came to the conclusion that Germany could be defeated by knocking Turkey out of the war by forcing the Dardanelles using warships although advised to the contrary, and seizing Constantinople (now Istanbul) . This failed because the Turks, under German guidance, had the sense to lay mines and man the artillery forts of the banks. Thus started the dismal failure which led to the land invasion of the Gallipoli peninsular by an inadequate and ill equipped force in April with failure being followed up by further failure by landing at Suvla Bay in August under generalship which must have been far the worst of the war. Army records are confusing as to whether George Ostick was serving in the 6th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles or the 9th Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters (the first Forester Battalion formed from the initial men who volunteered at the out break) but he certainly took part in the August landings at Suvla Bay or ANZAC Cove with one or the other.. George had found it difficult to adjust to army life and in the early days had incurred punishment for ‘absence’ but by the time of the landing appears to have settled down and become a good soldier. On the peninsular troops were within range of Turkish fire all the time and also, and in many ways worse, were plagued by disease. Dysentery, diarrhoea and enteric fever were spread mainly by colossal black flies which fed on the corpses and other battlefield waste then swarmed to cover the food and mouth of any man trying to eat. It was due to sickness that George was repatriated early in November 1915 first to Malta and then home to England. After his recovery George was posted to the 9th Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles on 30 August 1916 having first married Mary Stead on 12 June 1916. The battalion was originally raised in West Belfast as part of the 36th Division which originally comprised men of the Ulster Defence Force, formed by Sir. Edward Carson to protect Ulster from Irish Home Rule. 1917 saw the mutiny of the French army removing it from the equation as a fighting force and following the overthrow of the Tsar the effectiveness of the Russian Army had been brought into question. The full force of continuing the war against the Imperial German Army fell to the British Expeditionary Force and it was against this background that The Third Battle of Ypres was launched at Pilckem Ridge on 31 July. This battle saw the capture of ridges overlooking the German positions but not all the objectives were achieved and terrible losses were suffered. Heavey unseasonable rain then started and made the ground a quagmire causing misery for the troops. The 36th Division alongside another Irish division were set to take part in the next major action against the Zonnebeke Ridge in what being know as the Battle of Langemarck. The troops had been exhausted by labouring duties prior to moving into the line on 4 August when they were under constant enemy fire for two weeks being reduced to half strength. It is little wonder that the attack launched on 16 August made little progress but caused terrible losses, one of whom was Private George Ostick killed. Upon the eventual recovery of his body he was buried in New Irish Farm Cemetery near to Ypres. The families had to endure a long period of anxious silence before news by way of a letter from the army depot in Dublin that he was missing and a letter from one of his pals that he had been severely wounded and was last seen lying in a shell hole. There was a vain hope that he had been taken prisoner but in the fullness of time the dreaded letter confirming his death arrived in Retford. His widow was awarded a pension of 13 shilling and 9 pence per week. Copyright Robert Ilett 2013.
George Ostick enlisted on 21 August 1914 and was posted to 9th Battalion on 24 August. He seems to have been in varying amounts of trouble prior to embarkation to Gallipoli. He went to Gallipoli with the 9th Battalion and survived both of the major battles in August but on the 6 November 1915 he was taken ill with enteric fever at Suvla Bay. On 14 November 1915 he was moved to Malta and on 24 December 1915 was invalided to England on the H.S. Hunslet. Once he had recovered from the illness he embarked for the Western Front on 10 June 1916. He seems to have remained at the Infantry Depot until 30 August 1916 when he was transferred to the 9th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers. He was killed during the Battle of Langemarck, 16/18th August 1917. Coincidently 9th Battalion Sherwood Foresters were nearby during the battle. His grave was found after the armistice at a point south of St Julien and re-buried in New Irish Farm Cemetery, St Jean, North, North East of Ypres, Plot 16 Row C Grave 11. 'Pte George Ostick , Retford Retford Times 15th Feb1918 Official information has now been received that private Geo Ostick son of Mr and Mrs Harry Ostick of 25 Water lane, Morrgate, Retford, who was reported missing on August 16th 1917, is now reported as having been killed in action on that date. he was a married man and much sympathy is felt with his wife and family.'
Remembered on


  • This photo was first published in the Retford Times following the death of George Ostick
    George Ostick - This photo was first published in the Retford Times following the death of George Ostick
  • Buried in New Irish Farm Cemetery.
    George Ostick - Buried in New Irish Farm Cemetery.