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Colley, George

George’s parent’s Edwin John Colley and Mary Ann Smart were married in the June Qtr of 1890 in Birmingham ( Vol 6d  Page 301).

George Harold was Baptized on the 4th October 1896, the son of Edwin John & Mary Ann Colley, their address was 85, Tower Road and Edwin was a Machinist.(Parish of Aston – Juxta Church, Birmingham, Warwickshire Page 209).

They set up home and on the 1901 census were living at 147, Slade Road, Erdington, in the County of Warwickshire. Edwin John Colley 36, was head of the household, a Millwright in the Steel Tube Trade who had been born in Birmingham.  His wife, Mary Ann 31  had also been born in Birmingham. Their listed children were Grace Ellen  8, Edwin J. 6, George H. 4, Walter E., 2 and Marion A. who was 2 months old.

The 1911 census finds  Edwin John Colley 44,  living at 16 Farm Road Garden City Sealand Chester, Flintshire as a boarder. He was listed as an Engineer. He was lodging with the family of Charles Frederick Pike, his wife Clara Maud and their 4 children.

At the same time Edwin’s own family was recorded at at Rose Bank, Knutsford Road, Grappenhall, Cheshire. Mary Ann Colley 41 had been  married 20 years.  She had given birth to 8 children all of whom survived.  The children were listed as Grace Ellen 18 and a General Servant (Domestic). Edwin John 16  was  a Domestic Gardener. George Harold 14 was a Farm Labourer.  Walter Ernest  was 12,  Marion Ada  10,  Percy Herbert  8,  Edith Lillian  6  and Dorothy Ena was  3.

UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk confirms the regimental details above and adds that he lived in Queensferry and enlisted in Wrexham. His medal card, also accessible on ‘ancestry’ confirms his regimental details and tells us which medals he was entitled to.

At some time after the 1911 census, the family must have come to this area as there were 2  Flintshire WW1 Index Cards, one for Queensferry (F3) and one for Sealand (F2) the address on both is stated to be 46, Kingsley Road, Garden City, Flintshire and it was an Edwin Colley who signed one of George’s cards on 18th May 1920.   This of course could have been his brother, Edwin John and not his father Edwin John Colley.   Therefore his family or friends didn’t want him to be forgotten, he was truly loved.

Before the family were to hear of George’s death in the battlefield in 1918, tragedy struck the family in 1915 when George’s brother Walter drowned in the River Dee whilst fishing with his friend.   See the newspaper cutting of the inquest below.

Many thanks to Christopher John Church, grandson of Nellie (Grace Ellen) Church nee Colley, who was George & Walter’s older sister for getting in touch and telling us more of the family history.

Nellie Church

Walter Ernest Colley died of drowning while out fishing with friends. I have attached the inquest report (above).
Edwin and wife Louisa lived in London. They had a son Douglas
Marion married twice, second to Bernard Piersall; they lived in Saith Aelwyd Cottage, originally a tied cottage to Saith Aelwyd Hall, near Holywell, Flinthshire. I knew them as a child.
Percy Herbert married Ivy; they lived somewhere nearby, possibly Queensferry
Edith Lilian became Griffiths; her descendants lived in Harrogate
Dorothy Ena married Thomas Callin; they lived on the Isle of Man,descendants still living
There was also a Gerald Stanley born 1911; I know little of him.

Percy Herbert Colley

George was also remembered on the Screen at St. Ethelwold’s Church Shotton.   His name is also on the Plaque that was in the Chapel in Garden City which was demolished, in St. Andrew’s Church in Garden City.   Please click on the link to Sealand

I am sure he is also remembered on the Bangor Memorial Arch but as COLLEY, G.K. http://www.bangorcivicsociety.org.uk/pages/arch/DSCF4378.htm, but really G.H. COLLEY


Learn more about the other soldiers on the Hawarden Memorial

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