George Straw was born in Cutthorpe on 2nd December 1893, he was the third eldest child of Owen Lauder Straw and Elizabeth Creswick. George was baptised at Holmesfield Church on 31st December 1893.
22nd February 1897 George started at Cutthorpe Board School (later primary school) and his address was given as Masons Row Cutthorpe.
By the time of the 1901 census the Straw family were still living at Cutthorpe and George now had one older brother and three younger sisters. George’s father, Owen was working as a joiner and the address on the census is given as 42 Cutthorpe.
In 1902 another brother Owen was born followed in 1905 by a sister Esther. However, in August 1908 George’s father, Owen, died. He was only 47 years of age and he was buried in Old Whittington Churchyard, by this time the family had moved to 44 Holland Road Old Whittington.
I think a good indication of when the family could have moved to Old Whittington can be seen on the school log book. George left Cutthorpe School on 18th January 1907 and after checking I found that his sister was ‘removed’ on the same date. It is only an assumption, but it could be around the time the family moved.
The 1911 census shows that the address of the family is now 112 Holland Road.
Elizabeth, George’s mother is now Head of the family and George at 17 is working as a Coal miner, labourer below. There are only six children shown on the census although Elizabeth has confirmed that 7 children have been born and all have survived. After checking I found that Mary Amelia had moved out, and at 15 years of age was working as a general servant for a Fish Merchant and Herring curer (Clara Jordan) who lived at 25 Wheatbridge Road Chesterfield. As with many families, and especially as Elizabeth had no husband to support her now, as soon as the children were old enough they would have to earn a living to help support the family.
On the 11th December 1915 George Straw enlisted in the 10th Battalion Notts and Derbyshire Regiment. He enlisted in Chesterfield and was given the Service Number 116527. Luckily George’s records have survived, and we can get a good picture of how George would have looked from his Service record.
The record appears to show that George was 21 when he enlisted but he would actually have been 22 years old. He was still living at 112 Holland Road when he enlisted, and his occupation was given as miner. On the descriptive report it states that George was 5ft 7ins tall.
George was held in the Reserves until April 1918 when on 23rd he was mobilized and was posted on the 25th April.
In the meantime, on 16th June 1917 George married Iva Leatherday at Whittington church. Iva came from Whittington Moor and her father and her brother were joiners, the same occupation as George’s father!
George and Iva had a daughter Edith Ellen, who was born before George was mobilized, he would get a chance to meet his daughter for a short time at least. The couple set up home at 128 Church Street Old Whittington, and as you can see the Short Service Attestation Form was changed to the new address and to show that George was now married.
The Medical History form below, was completed on 12th April 1918, just before George was posted, shows that he was now apparently 5ft 61/2 ins, weight 134 lbs (Quite a slim young man) with LB hair (I would assume light brown), a sallow complexion and blue eyes. He had a scar on the bottom of his throat and the back of his neck and he was passed fit for service.
It would appear when George was first mobilized he was transferred to the 4th Battalion Notts and Derbyshire and sent to France with them. After checking with a fellow researcher, he was probably sent to an infantry Base depot in Calais first and then reassigned to the 10th Battalion.
The 10th Battalion Notts and Derbyshire came under orders of 51st Brigade in 17th (Northern) Division.
The 17th Northern Division took part in the Second Battles of the Somme, the battle of Amiens (8th -12th August) the 51st brigade were held in reserve, they were involved in the Battles of Albert and the Battle of Bapaume. They also saw action at the Battle of Havrincourt 12th September and the Battle of Epehy on the 18th September (these were phases of the Battles for the Hindenburg line), more information at
Extract from a map contained in the British Official History of Military Operations, France and Flanders, 1918. Crown copyright.
There is no way of knowing for definite which Battles George would have been involved in, but he was Killed in Action on 18th September 1918, on the day of the Battle of Epehy. More information can be found here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Épehy
The war diaries for the 10th battalion show that the day before the Battle the Platoons had been playing football and making preparation to return to the front line.
It says at the bottom of the report ‘During the actual advance casualties were only 30 OR’s’ Was one of those casualties George Straw?
George was buried where he fell, and his body was exhumed and re-buried at Villers Hill British Cemetery, Villers Guislain.
Photo courtesy of CWGC
Photo courtesy of TWGPP
By the time George’s personal effects were sent out to his widow Iva, she had moved and was living at Lordsmill St in Chesterfield.
George was awarded the British War and Victory Medals which were sent out to his widow in 1922.
George’s mother Elizabeth died in 1951, in 1939 she was still living in Whittington at Broomhill Road with her eldest son Edward.
George is commemorated on Old Whittington and the Brushes war memorials.