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  • Family gravestone, Nottingham General Cemetery, commemorating George. Photograph Rachel Farrand (February 2019).
Person Details
He was the son of William (died 1895) and Margaret Lowton (née Walsh) of Nottingham. William and Margaret had eight children all of whom were still living at the time of the 1911 census: William, John, Samuel, Arthur, George Henry, Ernest, Herbert Septimus and Lily. All the children were born in Nottingham. In 1881 William, a gas fitter, and his wife were living at 6 Ellis Terrace with their five children, William (10), John (8), Samuel (5), Arthur (3) and George (1). Ten years later in 1891 William was a greengrocer (own account) and living with his family at 43 Glasshouse Street. He and Margaret now had eight children; William, who was also a grocer, John, Samuel, Arthur, George, Ernest (9), Herbert (6), and their only daughter, Lily (1). Also in the household was a lodger, Hannah Vann (72) who was a widow. William died on 11 October 1895 aged 50, and by 1901 Margaret and all her children were living at 79 North Sherwood Street. It is probable that her son, William, had taken over his father's business as his occupation was greengrocer 'on own account.' All her sons were in work while Lily was still at school. Margaret was still at the same address in 1911 and now gave her occupation as greengrocer. George had already married and left home, nor were William and Ernest in the household on the night of the census and so they too may have left. However, her other five children were still living at home and John (39) was, like his mother, a greengrocer. Also in the house was Henry Lowton (6), who was described as a relative. It is probable he was the first child of George and Florence Lowton. George married Florence Annie Chester in 1904 and they had five children - Willie, Florrie, Herbert, Eliza and Lily. In 1911 they lived at 3 Hose Court, Coalpit Lane Nottingham. His brother, Herbert, served as a Gunner in the Royal Field Artillery (11th Bde) and was killed on 14 April 1918 aged 33. He left a widow, Fanny (née Coles), whom he had married in 1912. Probate: Lowton William of 43 Glasshouse-street Nottingham greengrocer died 11 October 1895 administration Nottingham 28 October to Margaret Lowton widow. Effects £137 1s. 11d. Probate: Lowton Margaret of 79 Sherwood-street Nottingham widow died 20 March 1926 Probate Nottingham 4 May to John Lowton greengrocer. Effects £394 2s. 9d. Their mother, Margaret, died aged 79 on 20 March 1926; she was still living at 79 North Sherwood Street, Nottingham. Inscription on gravestone, Nottingham General Cemetery: ‘In loving memory of William Lowton who died 11th Oct. 1895 aged 60 years. Gone but not forgotten. And of Margaret, beloved wife of the above who died March 21st (sic)1926 aged 79 years. At rest. Also of George Henry and Herbert Septimus sons of the above who gave their lives in the Great War 1914-1918.’
In 1911 he was a grain carter.
30 Jul 1916
189047 - CWGC Website
17th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
Nottingham Evening Post notice (abridged), 20 September 1916: 'Lowton. Killed in action July 30th 1916, Private GH Lowton, 15251 Sherwood Foresters, son of M Lowton, 79 Sherwood Street. Mother, sister, brothers and son Harry.' Almost certainly through ignorance of the truth at this point, Lowton's obituary gave a completely inaccurate account of Lowton's death. He was one of 306 British Great War soldiers executed for military offences. On the night of 12th June 1916 men from 17th Battalion Sherwood Foresters were detailed to go into No Man's Land and recover three portable bridges lying about 75 yards from the German line. An officer was to tell Lowton's court martial that the Foresters, who had already been in the line for 25 days without a break, were in a 'jittery state'. Lowton refused to obey the order because it would have been 'certain death to go out on this mission and he remained in the fire trench.' Lowton was charged with cowardice and wilful defiance and, despite a sympathetic hearing during which he described having previously been buried for four hours after an explosion, was sentenced to death. The court's recommendation to mercy was over-ruled and Lowton was executed alongside Bertie McCubbin on 30th July at Lone Farm Advanced Dressing Station. Source: Julian Putkowski and Julian Sykes, Shot at Dawn (Barnsley: Wharncliffe Press, 189 p.p.104-106). This text incorrectly cites Lowton as Lawton. He is buried in Brown's Road Military Cemetery, Grave Reference: V G 13. Research by David Nunn
In addition to Bertie McCubbin and George Lowton, six other Sherwood Foresters were executed for military offences during the Great War. They were: Private A Briggs (21801) [desertion] 10/4/1917 Private RM Davies (73372) [desertion] 15/11/1917 Private F O’Neill (13612) [desertion] 16/5/1918 Private WH Randle (13167) [desertion] 25/11/1916 Private W Robinson (70715) [desertion] 10/4/1917 Corporal J Wilton (23972) [quitting post] 17/8/1916 Having been in a dangerously exposed spot between Trones Wood and Guillemont on the Somme for forty eight hours, Corporal Wilton ordered the evacuation of his section (without higher authority). Julian Putkowski notes that former Sherwood Forester Joe Beard from Warsop, who had served with the BEF since September 1914, in 1992 recalled Wilton’s case as ‘a bad business. The man was a reservist, older than us with a family. He had just been pushed too far.’ In 2006 Defence Secretary Des Browne announced, on moral rather than legal grounds, posthumous pardons for 306 men shot for cowardice and desertion during the Great War. However, he did acknowledge that the executions were carried out in a very different era under the duress of war. Families wishing to go beyond pardons by seeking complete exoneration for executed men would have to pursue the issue case by case in court. That no families have taken this course suggests that pardons have allowed descendants to draw a line and move on. David Nunn
Remembered on


  • Family gravestone, Nottingham General Cemetery, commemorating George. Photograph Rachel Farrand (February 2019).
    George Henry Lowton - Family gravestone, Nottingham General Cemetery, commemorating George. Photograph Rachel Farrand (February 2019).