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Person Details
Underwood Nottinghamshire
CWGC, military and civil records also 'Wagstaff' George Albert Wagstaff was the only son of George Wagstaff and his first wife, Christiana (also Christian also Kate) née Tomlinson. His father George was born in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, in about 1854, the son of Enoch and Charlotte Wagstaff. His mother Christiana was born in Greasley, Nottinghamshire, in 1856, the daughter of William and Sarah Tomlinson. She was baptised at Greasley St Mary in June 1857. George and Christiana were married at Selston St Helen in June 1881; the registration of marriage gave her name as 'Kate'. They had at least four children, one of whom died in infancy: Florry (also Florrie/Florence) b. 1882, George Albert b. 1891, Edith b. 1894 and Lucy b. 1895 d. 1895. All the children were born in Underwood. In 1891 George, a coal miner, his wife and their daughter Florrie were living on Wansley Lane Selston. Christiana died in 1895 aged about 39 and in 1899 George married Annie (also Eliza Annie) Williamson at Basford Register Office. They had one daughter, Elizabeth Ann b. Underwood 1900 (reg. J/F/M mother's maiden name Williamson). George, a coal miner contractor, and his wife were living in Underwood in 1901 with his two children, George (9) and Edith (6), and their daughter Elizabeth (1). Also in the home was George's widowed father, Enoch Wagstaff, a retired colliery labourer. George's eldest surviving daughter Florence (18) was living in West Bridgford, Nottingham, a domestic servant in the household of Frederick Davies, a civil engineer, and his family. By 1911 George and his wife were living at The Smeath, Underwood, with his son George, who was also also a coal miner, and their daughter Elizabeth. Florrie had probably married in 1903 while Edith was living in Nottingham, a domestic servant in the household of two unmarried sisters, both 'of private means.' George's snr. may have died in 1917 (reg. A/M/J Basford) before the death of his son. George's stepmother died in 1935.
1911 - coal miner hewer at Underwood Colliery
01 Dec 1917
25
1757551 - CWGC Website
23359
Enlisted Mansfield
Private
4th Bn Grenadier Guards
Private George Albert Wagstaff served with the 4th Battalion Grenadier Guards. The 4th Battalion formed at Bovingdon Green camp near Marlow and moved to France on 16 August 1915 where it came under the command of the 3rd Guards Brigade, Guards Division. George enlisted March 1915 and had served in France for 20 months before his death in action on 1 December 1917. On the day of George's death the Battalion took part in the attack on Gonnelieu during the Battle of Cambrai. The attack began at 0630 and the advance was up a gentle slope over open ground with no cover. Enemy machine gun fire took its toll of the Battalion but it held its position and was still in the line on 3 December when it was moved back but remained ready if required again. The battalion was eventually moved to Etricourt and then to Dainville where it trained until the end of the month. George Albert has no known grave and is commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial, Louverval, France (Panel 2). CWGC - History of the Cambrai Memorial, Louverval (extract): Louverval is 16 km from Cambrai. The Memorial 'commemorates more than 7,000 servicemen of the United Kingdom and South Africa who died in the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917 and whose graves are not known. Sir Douglas Haig described the object of the Cambrai operations as the gaining of a 'local success by a sudden attack at a point where the enemy did not expect it' and to some extent they succeeded. The proposed method of assault was new, with no preliminary artillery bombardment. Instead, tanks would be used to break through the German wire, with the infantry following under the cover of smoke barrages. The attack began early in the morning of 20 November 1917 and initial advances were remarkable. However, by 22 November, a halt was called for rest and reorganisation, allowing the Germans to reinforce. From 23 to 28 November, the fighting was concentrated almost entirely around Bourlon Wood and by 29 November, it was clear that the Germans were ready for a major counter attack. During the fierce fighting of the next five days, much of the ground gained in the initial days of the attack was lost. For the Allies, the results of the battle were ultimately disappointing but valuable lessons were learnt about new strategies and tactical approaches to fighting. The Germans had also discovered that their fixed lines of defence, no matter how well prepared, were vulnerable.' (www.cwgc.org)
CWGC. civil and military records, surname 'Wagstaff' Newspaper report with photograph: ‘Brave Underwood Soldier Killed. First Hit Proves Fatal. Pte. GA Wagstaff (sic). 4th Batt. Grenadier Guards. Another fine young defender of the Empire from the Underwood district to make the supreme sacrifice is Pte. GA Wagstaff, only son of Mr and Mrs Geo. Wagstaff, who was first reported wounded and afterwards killed in action on the first day of December last year. His lieut., in conveying the news, since confirmed by the War Office, wrote: ‘It is with deep regret that I have to inform you of the death of your son. He was killed in action by a bullet on 1st Dec., his death being instantaneous. I know it will be a great relief to you to learn that he suffered no pain. He was an excellent soldier and his death is a great loss to the company.’ Deceased, who was 26 years of age, was a miner at Underwood Colliery before joining the Colours in March, 1915. He had served continuously with his regiment in France for 20 months without receiving a single scratch, and was home on leave in August last year.’ WW1 Pension Ledgers Index Card: named Annie Wagstaff, 'stepmother' Registers of Soldiers' Effects: his sister Edith was his legatee. Edith married John Smith in 1920.
Remembered on

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  • Commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial, Louverval, France. (www.cwgc.org)
    George Albert Wagstaff - Commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial, Louverval, France. (www.cwgc.org)