Private, 5546, 2nd/6th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
Killed in Action near Laventie, Pas de Calais, France, 5 July 1916, aged 23
Buried at Rue-du-Bacquerot No. 1 Military Cemetery, Laventie: Grave II. J. 10

Memorial plaque, Coleman's Hatch church

Private George William Stevenson, 5546, 2nd/6th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, was baptised at Hartfield on 28 May 1893, the son of Leonard John (1870-1920) and Elizabeth Stevenson née Divall (1868-1925). The couple married in East Grinstead in 1892, but may already have had a son, John, born a year earlier. The parents were enumerated in Lancashire in 1901, with John, born Hartfield, and Winifred, born Hammerwood. Ten years later they were in Kent, with two more daughters, one born in Lancashire and one in Kent. John was no longer at home.

In neither of the censuses is George with his parents, although the index for the Laventie cemetery clearly states him to be the son of Elizabeth Stevenson of 44, Manor Park, Lewisham and the late Leonard John Stevenson. He was discovered at Ashdown Park in 1901, a 7 year old boy enumerated with his grandparents, John and Sarah Gurr, his place of birth listed as Nutley. The army register of soldiers' effects lists George's grandmother as Sarah A Stevenson-Gurr, so presumably this was Leonard's mother married for a second time. It seems he was exclusively brought up by his grandparents, as in 1911 he was enumerated with them again, at the Verger's Lodge, Ashdown Park, in Hartfield — still giving Nutley as his place of birth, but listed as George William Gurr, grandson. He was working as a plumber's assistant.

He gave his address as Coleman's Hatch when he enlisted for service in Horsham. The Hartfield History Group notes that he may have lived at Furnace Farm there, but this has not been corroborated. He initially served as no. 2857 in the Royal Sussex Regiment but transferred at some point to the Royal Warwickshire, which raised 30 new battalions during the course of World War I. The 2/6th was a territorial force, which mobilised for war in France on 21 May 1916. From 20 June 1916 the regimental diary simply notes their position as 'In the trenches'. On the day George was killed, the diary entry reads:

At 1.30 a.m. our artillery heavily bombarded the enemy again. He again retaliated on our left particularly, causing heavy casualties (3 killed and 24 wounded)...Day was generally quiet.

George William was presumably one of the three mortalities, as he was reported killed in action on 5 July 1916 near Laventie, Pas de Calais, age 23. His medal card shows that he was awarded the Victory and British War Medals. He was buried in Rue-du-Bacquerot No.1 Military Cemetery, Laventie. George William Stevenson is commemorated on the war memorials in Coleman's Hatch and Hartfield as well as at Laventie. His brother also served as a soldier, and died on 27 October 1916. He is profiled here.

Rue-du-Bacquerot Cemetery, showing approximate position of George's grave

Pam Griffiths