George Grieves was married on the same date that he died. The 26th of April.
He lived at 20 Millers Hill, Ouseburn, Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the North East of England and worked in the coal mines. When he met Jane Eleanor he was already a widower. They were married in the local Catholic church. He was 25 years old. They lived in a street surrounded by close kin. Six months later they had their first child, Charles. Mary was born in 1910 and Annie followed in 1913. When George went to war Jane was expecting their fourth.
George was 32 years old and had been working for twenty years. There was a rumour that some miners at the front earned six shillings a day. This would treble his earnings.
After six weeks training with the Northumberland Fusiliers in his own neighbourhood he set off to Belgium with the 50th division. At 8. 30 a.m. on the Tuesday of the 20th April they left their base at Seaton Sluice and, by train and ferry, landed at Boulogne sixteen hours later. The journey to Ypres included thirty miles of marching and took them through Cassel, Winnerzeele and Brandhoek. They were not aware that on the day they had left their base camp another event was taking place at Langemarck which would change their future. Specially trained German troops were opening the valves of cannisters of gas. Six days after leaving Newcastle the fresh troops were thrown straight into action in an attempt to retake St. Julien - the village just beyond the farm of Octavie Debruyne. She had been moved just days before. After marching through shattered Ypres on Saturday, and two nights in the freezing rain, a bright Monday brought the order to attack. George went missing between two and four o'clock that sunny afternoon. His name is on the Menin Gate.
Jayne had their fourth child on the 6th July 1915. She named him George. He died after an attack of measles in 1916. Mary had two sons. Annie had a son and three daughters.
Charlie, the first born left school aged twelve and worked on the bus system for forty years. He never attended a doctor and never missed a days work through illness. He was married in 1945, had one son. He died in 1981 after a long walk in the snow. (Click on the images below to enlarge them).
April 26th, 1915