Hastings, George Williams

George Williams Hastings was the son of Charles and Amelia Hastings of Wimbledon Surrey. He married Annie Jones of Buckley and he may have been a school master at St. Matthew’s, or met Annie through her sister, Emily who was head mistress at St. Matthews.

George Williams enlisted as a private in the Monmouthshire Regiment and later took up a commission as a Second Lieutenant, 3rd Btn. Monmouthshire Regiment. He was transferred in the field to the 10th Btn. Cheshire Regiment. He died on the 1st August 1917 on the second day of the Third Battle of Ypres probably during the attack on Pilkem Ridge. The British forces suffered 1229 dead in Belgium on that day with 54 in the Cheshire Regiment.

George Williams Hastings is named on the memorial plaque in St. Matthew’s Church. He was not originally named on the Hawkesbury Memorial but was added in 2020. He was born in June 1882 in Kentish Town, London. His father Charles William Hastings was a journalist. He had a sister Ethel Mary. The family was living at Manor Road Foots Cray Kent (Bexley, southeast London) in 1891, Gravesend in 1901, and at 19 King’s Road, Wimbledon in 1911. In 1901, George W then 18 was listed in the census as a teacher at elementary school; in 1911 as a lecturer in English. The probate for his will in 1917 provides the address 33 West Park Road, Newport Monmouthshire. He is remembered in Newport on memorials at St. Mark’s Church and St. John the Baptist Church.

George Williams Hastings married Annie Jones at St. Matthew’s Buckley 28th December 1912. Annie Jones was the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Jones, Clayton House, Church Rd., born 20th September 1886. Brothers and sisters present in 1911 were Jessie 32; Emily 30, an elementary school teacher; Herbert, 27; and Marian 21 and Randal 19, both teacher students. Thomas, aged 67 in 1911 was a retired brickworks foreman. (Annie has not been found in the 1911 census). There is no record that Annie and George Williams Hastings had children.

Annie’s brother, Randal Jones, a Lance Corporal in the 5th Btn. Royal Welsh Fusiliers fought at Gallipoli in 1915, and was killed in Iraq on the 9th April, 1916.

Annie and Randal’s sister Emily Jones was head teacher at St. Matthew’s Girls school from 1907 to 1938. Her career is warmly described in The Making of Buckley and District by T.W. Pritchard: “The love and devotion which Emily Jones had for St. Matthew’s school grew in intensity over the sixty three years she was acquainted with it as scholar and teacher. Entering the infants’ school at the age of four in 1875, she eventually retired at the age of sixty seven in 1938. For the thirty one years she was head mistress of the girl’s school it might as a well be said that she was married to her profession. She belonged to that era in which married women had to retire if they entered into what were seen as the bonds of matrimony. But she achieved great satisfaction from the host of young girls whose lives she shaped by her motherly care, enthusiastic teaching, and exacting standards. They were her girls and she sent them into life when time came inspired by her curious and inquisitive quest for knowledge. By her teaching, their intelligence was well tried and their spirits enlivened by a sense of justice and patriotism. When the time came for them to leave school they were well equipped to be good housewives. None could forget her expression of praise; ‘I am an excellent Buckley Brick’. She was the potter who fashioned them as perfectly as possible during the long school years. She was their surrogate parent. This claim is made on the evidence of the girls’ school logbook”.

Annie (Hastings) Jones married Felix Geoffrey Dufton at St. Matthew’s on the 6th August 1925. Discussing Emily Jones, T. W. Pritchard notes that year after year there were glowing reports from the inspector of schools regarding the St. Matthew’s girls’ school. It is noteworthy then that the father of Felix Geoffrey Dufton was a school inspector.

Felix Geoffrey Dufton was born in Redhill, Surrey in 1987. He was a mechanical engineer, educated at Leeds Grammar School, the Royal Military Academy and Trinity College Cambridge. He served as a Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers in France, 1917 to 1918, and Iraq 1919 to 1922. He was promoted to Major in 1936 and was a Lieutenant Colonel in the second war. He lived in Cambridge (1901), Leeds (1911), Chatham (1912), Kingston Surrey (1926), and at Gosport Hants (1929) where he was an instructor in the School of Electric Lighting. He died in Bedford in 1972,

Annie (Jones) Dufton died in Bedford in 1960. Family trees on the internet show that she and Felix had three children, John Felix born in Reigate, Francis Trevor born in Bottisham Yorkshire, and Guy Julian born in Paris in 1931 (when Annie would have been 45).


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