GEORGE NEWTON MAPPLEBECK

Private 201079, 1st/4th Battalion Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment)

Killed in Action 3 September 1916 aged 21

No Known Grave Commemorated Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France

Son of George and Hannah Mapplebeck

Lived 35, Westgate, Heckmondwike


Private George Newton Mapplebeck was baptised on 2 January 1895 in the Church of St Michael, Hulme, Manchester.  His father, also called George Newton, was a brewer’s drayman living with his wife Hannah (née Watson) at 57 Lavender Street, Hulme.  In 1901 George and Hannah were in Back Bethel Street, Brighouse with Isabel, 7; George, 6 and Ellen, 1.  Hannah completed the details for the 1911 census with four children still at home: George, 16; Grace, 15; Ellen, 11 and Florence, 7.  Isabel had married in 1909, George (senior) is not shown.  The address in 1911 was Spivey Buildings, Huddersfield Road, Liversedge.  George was a picker, above ground, at a coal mine. 

On 26 October 1914 George enlisted in Cleckheaton with the 4th  (Territorial) Battalion of the West Riding Regiment with service number, initially, of 3109.  He gave his address as 43 Back Queen Street, Heckmondwike and his occupation as wheel tenter for the Liversedge Coal Company. He was 5ft 8½ins tall.  On 30 June 1915 he sailed on the cross-Channel paddle steamer La Marguerite from Southampton to Le Havre.  After a short time in Le Havre he joined his Battalion in the north-eastern sector of the Ypres salient on 11 September 1915.  That day he was hit by a bullet which grazed his forehead.  After treatment at No.10 Casualty Clearing Station he went by ambulance train to 1st Canadian General Hospital, Etaples on 12 September.  He recovered in Le Havre then rejoined his Battalion on 31 October.  The Battalion had moved to the Somme area near Mailly when on 19 March 1916 George and others were hit by shrapnel whilst carrying sandbags in the front line trench.  George was treated in the trenches for his wounds.  On 3 September 1916 the Battalion took part in the unsuccessful attack on the German lines at Thiepval and George was listed as missing at the end of that day.  The records show that he was ‘accepted as dead for official purposes’ on 15 May 1917.  His obituary was printed in the local paper on 29 June 1917.  George had never married, and there were no arrears of pay, but his father was sent a War Gratuity of £8 10s in 1919, by which time George (senior) and Hannah were at 35 Westgate, Heckmondwike.  George was awarded the 1914/1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

On 10 February 1921 Lieutenant Colonel Mowat wrote to the Infantry Records Office in York on behalf of the Regimental Old Comrades Association.  He wrote that Mr Mapplebeck had been to see Colonel Mowat ‘in a great state’ because Mr Mapplebeck had lost his son’s 1914/15 Star.  The Colonel asked if it was possible to obtain, or buy, a replacement.  He said he knew Mr Mapplebeck well and was anxious to help in any way possible.  This was the first such request to be received in York Records Office and they forwarded it to the War Office in London for a decision.  Sadly, the War Office replied that ‘under no circumstances‘ could the medal be replaced.  Except in certain tightly defined situations that is still the case to this day.  George Newton Mapplebeck’s father died in 1929, his mother Hannah in 1953.
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