130197 Gunner George Clifton, Royal Garrison Artillery
Born on 12th October 1882 in Ringshall
Died on 20th December 1947 in Ringshall
George Clifton was born in Ringshall, the eldest child of Walter Clifton and Lucy née Collier. He was baptised at St Peter & St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden on 19th August 1883. His father was a Bricklayer’s Labourer.
George’s sister Susan was born on 2nd April 1884, his sister Annie in 1886 and his brother Willie on 22nd June 1892.
The family lived at 7 Ringshall, later re-numbered 29 Ringshall.
George Clifton started at Little Gaddesden School on 9th May 1887 as an infant aged 4 years 7 months. On 24th March 1893, he gained his Certificate of Proficiency. Therefore, although George was only 10½ years old, he could leave school and seek work.
In the 1901 Census, 18 year old George was a Farm Carter, living at home with his parents and younger siblings. His sisters Susan, 16, and Annie, 14, were Domestic Nursemaids and his 8 year old brother Willie was at school.
George’s mother died in 1907. The family then moved to Dagnall where, in the 1911 Census, 28 year old George was a Bricklayer’s Labourer. His sister Susan, 27, kept house; his widowed father and 18 year old brother Willie were both Farm Labourers.
On 27th June 1914, George Clifton married Elizabeth Norwood at Stanmore Parish Church. George, a Batchelor aged 31, worked as a Labourer. 35 year old Elizabeth was a Spinster of Little Stanmore and the daughter of Frederick Norwood, Labourer.
Their son Arthur Clifton was born on 26th March 1916 and baptised on 14th May that year. Their address was then 8 Ringshall and George was a Bricklayer’s Labourer.
George’s Medal Roll Index Card and his Autumn 1918 Absent Voters’ list entry are the only surviving records of his military service. The latter shows his service as a Gunner in 183rd Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, which went to France in October 1916. Siege Batteries were equipped with heavy howitzers, which were often used to destroy enemy artillery and targets such as stores, roads and railways behind their lines. For his War Service, George was awarded the British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal.
Men who have answered their country’s call in defence of a “Scrap of Paper”
George Clifton is named on the Roll of Honour, which hangs in St Peter & St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden and lists 119 men from Little Gaddesden, Ringshall and Hudnall who served in the 1914 – 1918 War. His entry reads Clifton George, Royal Garrison Artillery. He is similarly shown on the Centenary Revision of the Roll. His cousin Victor Collier, Royal Horse Artillery is also named on the Roll. Another cousin to both men, Philip Collier, Suffolk Regiment has been added to the Centenary Revision of the Roll.
Rolls of Honour photos: Jane Dickson, Michael Carver
On demobilisation in 1919, George returned to 8 Ringshall where he lived for the rest of his life. By September 1939 he worked as a National Trust Labourer, a role he still held at the time of his death.
George, aged 65, died of Chronic Bronchitis on 20th December 1947. He was then buried at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden on 24th December 1947.
4. Little Gaddesden School Log Books 1887 – 1906
9. 1918 Absent Voters’ Lists Parliamentary County of Hertford, Hemel Hempstead Division, Little Gaddesden
11. Copy (pdf) of the Death Certificate of George Clifton d. 20th December 1947
12. Little Gaddesden Burial Register 1813 – 1980
Research, text and (unless otherwise credited) photos: Jane Dickson