Martin, George

George Martin was born in Flint on 16th September, 1894 and baptised on 7th October, 1894 at St Mary’s Catholic Church. He was the second of three children to Robert Martin and Sarah Elizabeth (Andrews). The other two were Mary Ann (b1893) and Robert (1896-1967).

Robert and Sarah Elizabeth were both born in Flint and were married in Chester in 1892. Robert was a chemical labourer and they lived in Castle Street. Sarah was an aunt to Private Edward Thomas Hughes (see Vol 1 Page 167).

Sarah Elizabeth was pregnant when she died on 11th August, 1900 at her home in 18, Castle Street.

An inquest was held at the Town Hall on the 14th August which revealed that on the night of Saturday the 11th August Sarah Elizabeth Martin and her husband Robert were having an argument which resulted in her consuming carbolic acid. After the evidence was heard, the Coroner, in his summing-up, said he was dissatisfied with the way the witnesses gave evidence. There had evidently been an attempt on the part of some of them to conceal something from the court, which made it difficult for the jury to arrive at their verdict. After ten minutes deliberation the jury announced they found deceased died from the result of carbolic acid poisoning, but how or by whom administered they could not say; and they left the verdict an open one.

Sarah was 28 years old and is buried in an unmarked grave in the Northop Road Cemetery.

In the 1901 census Mary Ann was living with her paternal grandmother, Hannah, at 39, Castle Street, whereas Robert Snr and the two boys were found living with his brother Edward and his wife in St Helens.

Robert married again in 1903 in Chester to Grazilla Cecile Nanichon King who was born in Boroughbridge, Yorkshire. They had four children, two of whom died in infancy, and lived at 6, Princes Street.

In the 1911 census George was employed as a servant at a Merry-go-Round in a field opposite the Lletty Hotel, Mostyn where he lived in one of two a vans with his fellow workers. The owner of the Merry-go-Round was 60-year-old Liverpool born showman Henry Tierney. George was one of four servants in his employ and they were all described as being in “Show Business.”

In June, 1914 George, 19, of no fixed abode, Joseph Kerfoot, 18, homeless and Matthew Beard, 15, of 100, Swan Street were summoned to the court held at the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Flint on a charge of theft from the Co-Operative Society shop. Items stolen included corned beef, pears, salmon and a loaf.

Martin had rather a bad record and was sent to prison for two months with hard labour. Kerfoot for 21 days, and Beard was sent to a Reformatory School where he would be taught a trade and leave at the age of 19.

George enlisted with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers in Shotton on 31st August, 1914. He was Private No 12779. His Medical Report stated he was 5ft 5 ½ ins, chest 33ins, fair complexion, eyes grey, hair dark and his occupation was given as plasterer. On 3rd September he was posted to the 8th Battalion RWF. On 11th December he was discharged for “Not being likely to become an efficient soldier.”

He was able to re-enlisted with the RWF in Flint on 6th July, 1915. His address was given as 6, Princes Street and his step-mother was named as his next of kin. He was sent to Kinmel Camp, Rhyl for training on the 8thJuly and committed three offences while stationed there.

7 days CB (Confined to Barracks) for being “Absent from Tattoo until reporting himself at 9.30pm 17-10-15 (2dys 23hrs 30mins).”

10 days CB and forfeited 7 days pay for being “Absent from Tattoo until reporting himself at 6.30am 10-11-15 (10days 8hrs 30mins.”

12 days detention and forfeited 24 days pay for being “Absent from Tattoo until reporting himself at 7am on the 24-2-16 (12days 9hrs).”

His regiment was posted to Mesopotamia (Iraq) embarking at Devonport on 7th March, 1916 and disembarking at Basra on 6th April.

On 10th June, 1916, whilst bathing in the River Tigris at Sheikh Saad, he accidentally drowned, and was buried in Amara War Cemetery, Iraq (Plot X1V, Row D, Grave 29).

He was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal and is remembered on two war memorials – Flint Town and St Mary’s Catholic Church, Flint. He is also commemorated on the North Wales Heroes’ Memorial Arch, Bangor.

In September, 1921 Grazilla applied for a separation order from Robert on account if his persistent cruelty. There had been a previous order for separation, but she returned and lived with him. She could not continue to do so in the future. The order was granted, with the custody of the two children, in respect of whom the Bench allowed 10s per week.

Grazilla died in May, 1931, aged 54, at 17, Princes Street and was buried in the Northop Road Cemetery.

Robert married a third time at Birkenhead Register Office in September 1931 to spinster Alice Trueman (1902-1947) of Birkenhead. They had a son named William (b1933) and lived at 57, Ivy Street, Birkenhead.

Robert died at Birkenhead General Hospital on 21st December 1941, aged 67.

Learn more about the other soldiers on the Flint Memorial

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