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  • Commonwealth War Grave Commission headstone marking his grave at Etaples Military Cemetery. Photograph courtesey of Murray Biddle
Person Details
George William was the son of John George Foster and Mary Hannah Frost. John George Foster was the son of John and Eliza Foster (nee Woodcock) and was born in Mansfield Woodhouse, Nottinghamshire, in 1873 (J/A/S Mansfield). In 1881 his parents were living on Fishers Row, Mansfield Woodhouse, with their four children including John George. Mary Hannah Frost was born in Shirland, nr, Alfreton, Derbyshire, on 5 May 1878 (A/M/J Chesterfield) the daughter of Isaac and Mary Frost (nee Blount). In 1881 her parents were living at New Higham, Shirland, and had seven children, including Mary Hannah. John George and Mary Hannah did not marry until 1901 (parish of St Leonard, Shirland). Their son George William was born in Nottingham, birth registered 1899 (J/F/M Nottingham), and it is likely that he lived with his paternal grandparents from a very young age as he was included in the members of their household at the time of the 1901 Census. John Foster (61, b. Ruddington, Notts), a labourer in a stone quarry, and Eliza (62, b. Ruddington) were living at 10 Fisher's Row, Mansfield Woodhouse with their daughter Mary Ellen (17) a lacquerer at a tin works and grandchildren Mabel Agnes Foster (10) - who had also been living with them in 1891 - and George William (2) who was listed with the surname 'Foster'. By 1911 the widowed John Foster (69), now working as a stone mason, was living at 9 Fishers Row with his daughter Mary Ellen (27) whose occupation was given as housekeeper, probably for the family, and George William (12), surname 'Frost', who was still at school. Their other grandchild, Mabel Agnes Foster (20), who had been living with her grandparents ten years earlier, was a boarder in the household of William and Elizabeth Mosley and working as a winder at a cotton factory. George William's parents were living on Chesterfield Road, Shirland, in 1911. John (36) was surface banksman at a colliery. He and Mary (31) had been married for eight years and declared on the census that they had had five children of whom only four were living. Four children were in the home on the night of the census: Sydney (8), Jack (7), Frederick (5) and Catherine E. (4), so it appears that they had not included their first child, George William, among their children. They had at least two more children after 1911: Elizabeth (?k/a Bessie) and Dorothy. Mary Hannah completed a form for the army on 21 May 1919 listing her late son's surviving blood relatives. She named herself and her husband and their children Sydney (16), Jack (15) and Frederick (14), Catherine (12), Elizabeth (the name 'Bessie' written below) and Dorothy. The family was still living in Shirland. George's father probably died in 1933 (A/M/J Derby) and in 1939 at the time of the England & Wales Register the widowed Mary Hannah was living at Rose Cottage, Shirland, Chesterfield, with her unmarried son, Jack (b. 23 October 1903, d. 1979 A/M/J Derby) a miner conveyor. Mary Hannah probably died in 1944 (J/A/S Derby) at the age of 67.
He gave his occupation as labourer when he enlisted in 1917 but another document with his service record described him as a collier.
20 May 1918
501188 - CWGC Website
9 Fisher's Row, Mansfield Woodhouse
Royal Guernsey Light Infantry formerly 36046 North Staffordshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's) 2nd Home Service Garrison Battalion George William enlisted in Mansfield on 16 February 1917. His age was recorded as 18 years and 67 days. He named his paternal aunt Nellie [Mary Ellen] Foster as his next of kin. He joined the North Staffordshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's) on 16 February but was transferred to the 17th Bn Royal Defence Corps on 9 August 1917. Less than three weeks later he was transferred to the 2nd (Res) Bn Royal Guernsey Light Infantry on 26 August. While serving with the RGLI he was charged with two minor offences: on 26 November 1917 for losing by neglect his cap badge and on 5 December the same year for not complying with an order. The punishment for each offence was two days confined to barracks. He embarked 23 January 1918 and disembarked 24 January 1918 (France) and joined his unit (?GIBD) on 28 January 1918 before transferring to his battalion on 3 February. On 28 March 1918 he was admitted to hospital having been gassed and was treated at No. 53 General Hospital before rejoining his battalion on 21 April. On 9 May he was treated for a mild case of mumps and returned to duty on 20 May 1918. The same day he was treated for 'SW mult.' - probably shell wounds multiple - but died of his injuries. A report to his regiment from the Graves Registration Unit in his service document recorded that he was buried in Etaples Military Cemetery Extension. (CWGC - Etaples Military Cemetery, France grave ref. LXVII. D. 34).
UKSDGW gives his units as (1) North Staffordshire Regiment (2) Channel Island Militia Bn - Royal Guernsey Light Infantry 1st (Service) Battalion. CWGC record: (served as "FROST"). Son of J. George and M. Hannah Foster, of Shirland, Alfreton, Derbyshire. Inscription CWGC headstone: GW Foster served as 1927 Private GW Frost Royal Guernsey Light Inf. 20th May 1918 Although George named his aunt, Mary Ellen (Nellie) Foster, as his next of kin his personal possessions were returned to his mother and she also received his medals (British War Medal and Victory Medal) in 1922.
Remembered on


  • Commonwealth War Grave Commission headstone marking his grave at Etaples Military Cemetery. Photograph courtesey of Murray Biddle
    George William Frost - Commonwealth War Grave Commission headstone marking his grave at Etaples Military Cemetery. Photograph courtesey of Murray Biddle