George Edward Sherratt
Written by Linda Trim
Caldy man who had travelled the world dies in L’Epinette, France.
George Edward Sherratt was born in Caldy, Cheshire, on the 31st of October 1869 to James and Jane Sherratt (nee Birse) of Manor Farm, Caldy. He was the 7th child in a family of 13 children, and was baptized at St. Bridget’s, West Kirby on December 5th 1869.
George’s father was the farm bailiff according to the 1871 and 1881 censuses, but by 1891 he is shown as a farmer, and in either capacity would have been a respected member of the community, so George undoubtedly had a good standard of living for the time. He attended Caldy School until 1878 and then went to Grange School; he was a model pupil with good attendance according to the school records.
On the 1891 Census his occupation is listed as farmer’s son. Sadly, while growing up he and some farm labourers were sheltering under a tree during a storm, and George’s gun discharged while the young men were horsing around, causing injury. The result was that one of the lads died because of his wounds, but this young man man told the authorities before he died that George was not to blame for the accident.
In July 1891, aged 20, he went to Chester to enlist in the Grenadier Guards, and he attested on the 8th. On 10 July he arrived in London and was given regimental number 3079. He was described as being 5 feet 9 ½”and 148 lbs with brown hair and blue eyes and with a slight depression of the breast bone. This was a good height at a time when many men and women were very short due to their poor diets. He only served 28 days and was released from service for unknown reasons.
On the 25th February 1893 George joined the Cheshire Police Force and was stationed in Runcorn on the 4th of March; his collar number/rank was Constable 383 and his weekly pay was £1 5s 1d. On the 6th of October 1893 he was drunk in the High Street in Runcorn at 11:20 pm and was using threats to Sergeant Woolley and was fined £1 5s by the Chief Constable. During that period police officers were not supposed to drink on or off duty. On the 18th of November 1893 at 11pm whilst on duty in Runcorn, he was again drunk in the High Street and was dismissed by the Chief Constable. He left the Police on the 20th November that year.
On the 3rd of January 1902, when the Boer war had been ongoing for over two years, George once again enlisted in Chester. This time he joined the 124th Squadron, 27th Regiment of the Imperial Yeomanry and was assigned regimental number 38048. Trooper Sherratt trained from the 3rd of January to the 30th of April 1902 before he was drafted to South Africa on the 1st of May 1902 and saw active service before the war ended on May 31st 1902. He was awarded the Queen’s South Africa medal with Cape Colony and South Africa 1902 clasps. He returned to England on the 20th of October 1902 and was discharged at his own request in Aldershot six days later.
George’s father James Sherratt died on the 4th of November 1903, leaving an estate of £976 0s 8d to his wife Jane. This would be around £107,000 in today’s money. Jane Sherratt died in 1911 leaving £999 11s 6d with four of her sons as executors, not including George. The family farm was sold after Jane’s death.
James and Jane Sherratt at Manor Farm
As a youngster George was nicknamed “Doctor” shortened later to Doc by his friends, and lived a varied and interesting life. Besides his military service, he is reported to have taken pedigree cattle to the Argentine for Mr. Heywood, who was Lord of the Manor of Caldy at that time, also he is said to have taken charge of stock horses sent to Japan by the British Government. If this wasn’t enough, he left Britain in 1904 on the Carpathian, sailing from Glasgow to Montreal. While in Canada he took up the lumberjack’s trade. He returned in 1912, sailing from St. John, New Brunswick to Liverpool on the Empress of Britain.
1911 found most of George’s siblings living in and around the West Kirby area: Grange, Caldy, Frankby, Greasby and Kirkdale, Liverpool. James, his oldest brother who had been a farm bailiff in Lathom, Lancashire, had died in 1892 just a month after his younger daughter died.
At the outbreak of WW1, George was just under 45 years old. In the early days of the war, men over 38 were not being recruited and signed up, but he must have lied about his age in order to enlist, which was quite common at that time as the Government was not then checking men’s ages. He joined the 1st Battalion of the Kings Liverpool Regiment as Private 11245 but it is reported that he transferred to the 3rd King’s Liverpool Battalion in order to hasten his departure overseas. Most of his records were destroyed, probably in the WW2 bombing raids, so we have pieced together his military record from the various sources available.
After the start of the war, the 1st Battalion was stationed at Talavera Barracks in Aldershot as part of the 6th Brigade, 2nd Division. The 1st King’s arrived in Le Havre, France on 13th August 1914, but Private Sherratt did not arrive until 28th November probably as a casualty replacement; he would have been with the 3rd Battalion by this time. On the 22nd December the Battalion marched to relieve the 7th .
George died in L’Epinette, France on January 27th 1915, and was buried in the Le Touret Military Cemetery, which is between Bethune and Neuve Chapelle. This date was Kaiser Bill’s birthday.
Le Touret Military Cemetery
In 1919 the West Kirby Working Men’s Club held a dinner at the Black Horse Hotel to welcome back the men who returned from the War, and a toast was given to those who would never return. George was one of those toasted, along with David Hartness, ‘Bob’ Quilliam, Edward Railton and T Cotgreave.
Birth: 30th October 1869 Caldy, Cheshire
Death: 27th January 1915 L’Epinette, France
Address: Manor Farm, Caldy, Cheshire. Census 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901.
Occupations: Farmer, soldier, lumberjack
Unit: Grenadier Guards: Imperial Yeomanry; King’s Liverpool Regiment, 1st and 3rd Battalions.
Number and Rank: Private 3079: Trooper 3048: Private 11245:
Medals: Queen’s South Africa medal with Cape Colony & South Africa 1902 clasps: 1914 Star: British War: Victory Medal
Commemorated: Le Touret Military Cemetery, Richebourg-L’Avoue, France: St. Bridget’s Church Graveyard, West Kirby: Memorial Plaque inside St. Bridget’s Church: Memorial Plaque St. Andrews, West Kirby; War Memorial on Grange Hill, West Kirby: Cheshire Constabulary WW1 Dead Roll of Honour.
Sources: CWGC, FT, GH, MC, PR, PROB, SR, WK, Cheshire Museum of Policing; Minute Book for WK, Caldy & Grange introduction of the 1876 Education Act; Sherratt family; the Collection of Heather Chapman; Manchester Courier.