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  • Photograph originally published in the Worksop Guardian.
Courtesy of Robert Illett
Person Details
Worksop Nottinghamshire
George Lancelot was the only surviving son of George Thomas and Annie Elizabeth Watkin (née Dilkes). His father George Thomas was born in Newark, Nottinghamshire, in 1861 (bap. St Mary Magdalene March 1861), the son of George Henfrey Watkin and his wife Betsy Morris (née Dring). His father was a publican and on the three census between 1861 and 1881 was licensee of the Black Bull, Cartergate, Newark. However, by 1891 the family was living in Leeds, Yorkshire, where George, his brother Robert, and their father were employed as house painters. His mother Annie Elizabeth Dilkes was born in Leicestershire in 1865. In 1891 she was working as a hosiery mender and living with her married sister, Ada Felstead, and her husband John, in Leicester. George and Annie were married in 1894 (reg. Leeds) and had ten children, three of whom died young. The eldest child, Lilian Ada, was born in Leeds in 1895 but her siblings were all born in Newark: George Lancelot birth registered 1897 (J/F/M), Beatrice Elizabeth b. 1898, Betsy Dring birth registered 1900 (J/F/M), twins Annie Violet and Thomas Edward b. 1901 (J/A/S) d. 1901 (J/A/S), Hilda Annie birth registered 1903 (J/F/M), Walter Dring b. 1904 d. 1906 aged 2, Sarah May b. 1907 and Annie Dorothy b. May 1908. In 1901 George, a painter ('domestic', employed on 'gentleman's estate'), his wife and their five children Lilian, Ada, George, Beatrice and Betsy, were living in Wood Yard, Prior Well Road, Worksop. Their twins, Annie and Thomas, were born later that year but died shortly after their birth, while another son, Walter, who was born in 1904, died two years later in 1906. Annie Elizabeth died aged 43 in 1908 (A/M/J), shortly after the birth of her youngest child, Annie Dorothy (b. May 1908). Annie was baptised at St Jude's, Hunslet, Leeds, in June 1908. The baptismal record named both parents who lived at 2 Garside Street, Prior Well Road, Worksop. However, her father still had relatives in Leeds and Annie was adopted by her father's younger brother, Walter Dring Watkin, and it is possible that her baptism was held after her mother's death. George was living at 7 Garside Street, Worksop, in 1911. He employed a housekeeper and she and five of his seven surviving children were in the home on the night of the census: Lilian, a laundress learner (steam laundry), George (14), a sorter in a coal mine, Beatrice and Hilda who were still at school and Sarah (3). Betsy was living with her uncle, Robert Henry Watkin, an innkeeper, his wife and their daughter at the Spotted Cow Inn, Drighlington, Yorkshire. Annie Dorothy (recorded on the census as Dorothy Annie) was living with her adoptive parents, Walter Watkin, a publican, and his wife Sarah, and their two daughters, at the Hope & Anchor Inn, Pearson Street, Hunslet, Leeds. George Lancelot was living with his father at 7 Garside Street when he enlisted in 1914, and this was still his father's address in 1917. By 1921, Hilda, Sarah and Dorothy Annie, were living with their father in Worksop; the record of one other person in the household has not yet been identified. Beatrice was married (m. 1918, Bloomer) and also living in Worksop. Two sisters had died in 1918 (reg. O/N/D), Lilian Ada Hawksworth (m. 1912, James Hawksworth) and Betsy (Watkin). The later CWGC record gave George Thomas's address as 93 Low Town Street, Worksop, and he was still living there in 1939 when the England and Wales Register was compiled. George died aged 80 in 1941 (reg. J/F/M Worksop).
1911 - sorter, collier. He was employed at Manton Colliery
20 Jun 1917
21
913120 - CWGC Website
70794
7 Garside Street, Newark, Nottinghamshire. Enlisted Newark.
Private
1st Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
George Lancelot attested in the East Yorkshire Regiment on a Short Service Engagement (Three Years with the Colours) on 29 August 1915 (10694 Private). He was 19 years 228 days of age and living with his father at 7 Garside Street, Worksop. George joied at Beverley on 30 August and posted to the 6th Battalion. He was discharged on 24 October 1914 as 'not likely to become an efficient soldier', having served for only 57 days. There is a Medal Rolls index card in the name of George L Watkin, 58036 Private, Yorkshire Regiment, who was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal. George later enlisted in the Notts & Derby Regiment. The Medal Rolls shows that he served intially with the 1/8th Bn. Sherwood Foresters (4241) but was later transferred to the 1st Bn. Sherwood Foresters (70794). George served with the BEF France from 27 October 1915. He died very shortly after being wounded in action on 29 June 1917. He was probably buried on the battlefield but his grave was either lost or his body later not identified and he is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium. He qualified for the 1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
CWGC additional information:- 'Son of George Thomas and Annie Elizabeth Watkin, of 93, Low Town St., Worksop.' Pte. Lancelot F. Watkin Worksop Guardian 29 June 1917 'To the already long list of Worksop men who died doing their duty for King and Country, the names of several gallant soldiers must be added. This week news has come of the death in action of Pte. Lancelot F. Watkin, Sherwood Foresters, only son of Mr. J. T. Watkin, Garside Street, Worksop. The deceased lad was only 20 years of age last February, and worked as a miner at Manton before the war, but joined up at the outbreak, when he was little more than 17. He enlisted in the York. And Lancs. Regiment, but was afterwards transferred to the Sherwood Foresters. He had been to France on two occasions, the first time he contacted trench foot and was sent home for treatment. Going out again he took part in the great advance in the early spring, and in fact may be said to have had a share in the fighting this year. On Saturday afternoon, his father received a letter from Second – Lieut. F. Holland, informing him of the poor lad’s death in action. Lieut. Holland pays him a very high tribute. He had, he said, done his work like a soldier and that he was killed as they were leaving the trenches. He was a fine lad and did his work well and with a willing spirit, and they would all miss him,- Lieut. Holland adds that Watkin was quite conscious at the end and met his death bravely. Pte. Watkins stepbrother (sic), Q-M-S. Dilks, who was a reservist at the time war broke out, also writes home conveying the sad information, and say he was killed on June 20th. He was sent for, he says, that morning, and was told that Lance had been killed by a shell. He was almost heartbroken and sent for the Corporal who was with him. A fellow with Lance had his head blown off, and Lance, whose injuries were rather extensive, expired in a few seconds. All that was possible was done for him. His lasts words were “Don’t leave me” and the fellows stayed up to the last and buried him. Young Watkin was a very nice well-behaved lad, and liked by all who knew him. Sincere sympathy is expressed with his father, who is a widower, and his sisters in their bereavement.' Note: The above newspaper report refers to a stepbrother, Quartermaster Sergeant Dilks (sic), who was serving in France at the time of George's death. However, no evidence has been found that George's mother, Annie Elizabeth née Dilkes (sic), had an earlier marriage to a spouse who had a child by a previous relationship. It is more likely that QMS Dilks was a cousin. Research by Colin Dannatt
Remembered on

Photos

  • Photograph originally published in the Worksop Guardian.
Courtesy of Robert Illett
    Lancelot F Watkin - Photograph originally published in the Worksop Guardian. Courtesy of Robert Illett
  • Commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium. (www.cwgc.org)
    George Lancelot Watkin - Commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium. (www.cwgc.org)