490308 Sapper George William Liberty, Royal Engineers
Born on 17th April 1886 in Hudnall
Died on 11th April 1936 in Little Gaddesden
George William Liberty was born in Hudnall, the son of George Liberty and Annie Elizabeth, previously Stoker née Brown. He was baptised at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden on 3rd June 1886. His father was a Forester on the Ashridge Estate and the family lived at 8 Hudnall.
On April 20th 1891, the new entrants to Little Gaddesden School included Sidney Jones of Ringshall and George Liberty of Hudnall.
Winter epidemics were, unfortunately, common at Little Gaddesden School. Between 7th and 18th October 1897 the school was closed because of mumps, re-opening only for “mumps to be spreading in all directions“. George Liberty’s absence with mumps is then recorded on 21st October. A further week’s school closure followed.
However, more seriously, a year later, on 28th October 1898, George was one of several children diagnosed with Scarlet Fever; Walter Bunn was another and Bertie Purton possibly a third, but the Doctor could not decide. Further cases of fever closed the school for 3 weeks in November and another 3 weeks in January, by order of the Medical Officer of Health.
Little Gaddesden School had a Diocesan Inspection in January or February each year, during which the children were examined in Religious Knowledge. George Liberty was listed among the children who distinguished themselves in the 1901 examination.
On 12th July 1901, George Liberty, Standard 7, left Little Gaddesden School to be apprenticed as a Carpenter.
On 10th October 1907 George Liberty married Lottie Richmond Baker at Holy Trinity Church, Marylebone Road, London. George, 21, was a Carpenter; Lottie then living at 91 Hallam Street, Marylebone, was the daughter of Charles Baker, a Miner. However, she was previously a Laundry Maid in the service of Lord and Lady Brownlow at Belton and Ashridge. George and Lottie lived initially with George’s parents at 8 Hudnall. Lottie’s younger sister Ada visited and, in 1916, married Edwin Purton of 5 Hudnall.
George and Lottie’s elder son Charles George William (Bill) Liberty was born on 25th January 1908 and their younger son, Fred Liberty, on 12th October 1910.
In the 1911 Census, George, Lottie and their two sons lived at 8 Hudnall with George’s parents, George and Annie. George (Jnr) was then a House Carpenter and his father a Forester.
Only a few days after the Census, George’s mother Annie Elizabeth Liberty died, aged 65. She was then buried on 8th April 1911, in the churchyard of St Peter and St Paul, Little Gaddesden. However, in 1917, George’s father married Eliza Palmer.
Military Service 10
George has no medal records, which suggests that he served entirely in the United Kingdom. The only records of his military service, other than the Little Gaddesden Roll of Honour, are his entries on the Autumn 1918 and Spring 1919 Absent Voters’ lists. These show him serving as a Sapper in the Royal Engineers (Territorial Force), Service Number 490308. By Autumn 1919, he had been demobilised.
Men who have answered their country’s call in defence of a “Scrap of Paper” 11
George Liberty, Royal Engineeers 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. He is similarly shown on the Centenary Revision of the Roll. His first cousins Arthur Whitman R.I.P. and James Whitman are also listed as are his uncle Joseph Whitman and his brother-in-law Edwin Purton with his brothers Reginald Purton and Frederick Purton. Edwin and Reginald survived the War. Frederick, however, was killed in an accidental explosion at Audruicq, France on 25th April 1916.
Rolls of Honour photos: Jane Dickson, Michael Carver
In 1919, George, Lottie and their sons Bill and Fred moved to 5 Little Gaddesden. George then lived there until his death, aged 49, on 11th April 1936. Four days later, on 15th April, his funeral service was held at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden.
The 1939 Register shows both George’s widow Lottie and his widowed step-mother Eliza living at No 5 Little Gaddesden. Charles had married and moved to Dunstable but Fred and his wife Gladys lived at 14 Council Cottages Hudnall, now Chapel Close. Fred is then named on P.C. Parker’s list of Local Defence Volunteers (later the Home Guard); he served in No 2 Section, based at Hudnall Four Ways Garage.
Lottie ran a Tea Garden at 5 Little Gaddesden where she and Eliza remained until their deaths. Lottie died, aged 82, on 3rd February 1964 and Eliza, aged 97, on 1st January 1966. Eliza, who had been a widow for 45 years, was buried with her husband George (Snr) in Little Gaddesden Old Churchyard.
2. Little Gaddesden Baptism Register 1813 – 1947
4. Little Gaddesden School Log Books 1887 – 1906
6. Leonhardt, John (ed), 2002, A Century Remembered – a celebration of the Millennium in Little Gaddesden, Rural Heritage Society of Little Gaddesden, Ringshall and Ashridge
8. Little Gaddesden Burial Register
10. 1918-21 Absent Voters’ Lists Parliamentary County of Hertford, Hemel Hempstead Division, Little Gaddesden
15. Police Constable Parker’s list of Little Gaddesden’s Local Defence Force Volunteers, compiled in May 1940
Do you have any questions about the information recorded here? Or do you have any further information that you can share with us about those from Little Gaddesden who died or fought for their country? In either case, please contact Jane Dickson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Research, text and (unless otherwise credited) photos: Jane Dickson