GEORGE WEEDING

Trooper 1548, No.2 Company, The Household Battalion
Killed in Action, 3 May 1917, aged 32
Buried at Roeux British Cemetery, Sp. Mem. H.7
 

George Weeding's gravestone
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George Weeding was born in 1885 at Edgemount Farm, Newbridge, Coleman's Hatch, the son of George and Sarah Ann Weeding. In the 1911 census his occupation is given as labourer but at his death he is listed as gardener.

In October 1912 George married Alice Wheatley at St. Mary's Church, Hartfield. Alice was born in 1888 at Lowlands Farm, Hartfield, the daughter of Joseph Wheatley, a farmer, and Ellen Eliza Wheatley. At the time of her marriage she was living within Ashdown Forest at her parents' farm, Hillside Farm, Sandy Lane, Coleman's Hatch.

George and Alice had two children, Geoffrey Joseph (1913-1978) and Peter George, who died in infancy in 1913. Alice and Geoffrey, who lost his leg in a motorcycle accident, lived together at Stone Cottage, Sandy Lane, up the lane from Hillside Farm, for many years before moving to a bungalow in East Grinstead. Alice, who died in 1974 at the age of 85, also lost her brother Harry Wheatley in the First World War when he was killed in action on the Somme in 1918. Harry Wheatley is commemorated on his parents' gravestone in Coleman's Hatch churchyard, while Alice and her son Geoffrey are buried nearby.

George's attestment date, marking the formal commencement of his army service, was 22 November 1915. His enlistment date is recorded as 30 October 1916, which we presume is the date he joined No.2 Company, The Household Battalion, where he served as a trooper.

The Household Battalion had been formed in September 1916. It was an infantry battalion with Household Cavalry officers and NCOs, with men who had volunteered for the duration of the war for the Household Cavalry. Three months after it was formed the battalion was in France, fighting in the trenches at Sailly-Saillisel, in the Somme valley, with the 4th Division. This first action cost them 300 casualties.

In 1917 the battalion was at the Third Battle of the Scarpe River (May 1917). In a subsidiary action during the Battle of Arras (1917) the battalion fought for 14 days to capture Roeux village; it was during this action that George was killed.

Unfortunately the cemetery in which George was buried was shelled and his remains scattered. He was finally laid to rest in Roeux British Cemetery, Pas de Calais.

George is commemorated on the following war memorials: Hartfield War Memorial, Holy Trinity Church War Memorial, Coleman's Hatch, Reigate St. Mary's Church and Reigate War Memorial (as is his younger brother John Weeding, who also died in 1917 and who is also profiled as part of this project).

George's brother, Henry Thomas, married Ada Melinda Tanner in 1905. She came from Reigate, Surrey, and Henry and his family lived in Reigate in 1911 where he was a house painter. This could be why the brothers are commemorated on the Reigate war memorials.

Tragically, the brothers' father, George Weeding Senior, took his own life in the cow shed at Edgemount Farm in 1919. Alice Weeding was in the kitchen of her parents-in-law when she heard a shotgun go off and sounded the alarm. Alice, having borne a series of tragedies during the war with the deaths of her husband, brother, and brother-in-law, was now confronted by the suicide of her father-in-law immediately after it.

(A family tree showing the extended Wheatley-Weeding kinship group and which identifies the many family members who died while fighting in the First World War can be viewed by clicking here.)

Roeux British cemetery
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George Weeding is Remembered with Honour in Roeux British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, Sp. Mem. H. 7.

George left £4 16s.4d. to his widow Alice in his will.

Carol O'Driscoll

 

Acknowledgement
With gratitude to Roger Barton, great nephew of George and John Weeding, for supplying additional information about them and their family.