George Atherton was born in the St. Helens Registration District in 1900 (St Helens SH/243/36) the son of Frank & Sarah Atherton (nee Gregson), who married in the Bury Register Office or Register attended ceremony (Bury RM/95/62).
They are seen on the 1901 census living at 5, Fox Street, Bury, Lancashire. Frank Atherton, 28 was head of the household and an Iron Driller, born in Chester, Cheshire. Sarah Atherton, 25,and George their son was age 1 and like Sarah had been born in Bury, Lancashire.
By the 1911 census, they had moved to 11/13, Hill Street, Walshaw, Tottington, Lancashire (4 rooms), again Frank, 38, was head of the household and an Iron Machinist (Motor Cars) born in Winsford, Cheshire. Sarah, 35 tells us that they had been married for 11 years and 2 children had been born. George was now 11 years old and a sister Clarissia was 8 and had been born in Bury, Lancashire.
Tragedy was to strike the young family when Frank, age 43, died and was buried on the 27th November 1915, when young George was 15 years old (Bury Vol. 8c Page 646.). I believe that Sarah was to marry Henry Mowe in 1920 in Bury Register Office or Registrar Attended ceremony (Bury RM/133/128).
The 1921 census sees the new family living at 56 Pine Street, Bury, Lancashire with the head of the household being Henry Mowe, 59, a Watchmaker &, Repairer at J D Lepp, Watch Maker & Jeweller, he had been born in Northampton, Northamptonshire. Sarah Mowe, 47 was described as doing “Household Duties.” Clarissa Atherton, Step-daughter, 19, was a Printer at Bibby & Baron, Paper Makers & Printers. George Atherton, Step-son, 21, was a Locomotive, Fireman at Lanc & Yorks Railway Co, Loco Dept – but was “Out Of Work.”
Incidentally, the two newspaper reports on George’s Military Funeral (below), give the surname of George & Clarissa’s mother and step-father as MOORE, which could easily be done with different accents.
They also mention that George had seen military service with the Lancashire Fusiliers and had been in Gallipoli, India and France, but I cannot find any service records for George.
Georges’ sister Clarissa Atherton married James Edward Shaw on the 22nd December 1923 in the Parish Church, Bury. James was 27 and his address was 20, Bowling Green Street, Radcliffe, his father was Edward Shaw, a Ganger. Clarissa, 21, lived at 56, Vine Street and her father was Frank Atherton (deceased), Driller. Their Witnesses were Arthur Shaw, Alice Shaw & Henry Mowe.
I believe that by 1924, George had met and married Lena Murphy in the September quarter of 1924 (Bury Vol. 8c Page 1212).
The 1939 National Register (Taken on the 29th September 1939), shows George , Lena and children living at 3 Stone Cottages North Street, Saltney Ferry, Hawarden , Chester. This Register gives the dates of birth of each resident. George Atherton was born on the 30th January 1900 and was a Railway Permanent Way Labourer. Lena Atherton’s date of birth was given as 8th or 18th December, 1899, the date was changed in pencil and was employed as an Assistant Matron, but it doesn’t say where. Frank (A) Atherton was born on the 30th Jun 1930 and he was “At School.” There are 3 redacted or closed records*, who, I believe, are Frank’s siblings, Clarice, Hilda & Eileen. There is also a John W. Hall living there, born on the 14th February 1890, single and a Sewage Contractor. In June of that year, according to the newspaper cutting, George had to retire due to ill-health.
*For individual people, records remain closed for a century after their birth (the 100-year rule), unless it can be proven that they passed away before this milestone.
On the same National Register, living at 79 Willow Street, Bury, Bury C.B., Lancashire, are George’s mother Sarah and her husband Henry Mowe. Henry had been born on the 28th July 1860 and was a Watchmaker, Retired. Sarah’s birthday was the 26th June 1875 and sadly she was “Incapacitated.”
The following year of course, according to the Newspaper cuttings, was a tragic year for Lena and the children, as George was to die on the 6th July 1940. He had joined the South Lancashire Regiment, on the 20th June 1940, and he was taken ill two days later and taken to Clatterbridge Hospital.
The Chronicle 13th July 1940
Military Funeral – The death has occurred in Clatterbridge Hospital on Saturday of Mr. George ATHERTON, of 3, Stone Cottages. Age 40, he was a native of Bury. He served in India, the Dardenelles and Francee during the Great War, and afterwards employed in the Engineering department of the L.M.S. at Ellesmere Port & Chester. Owing to ill-health in June 1939. He rejoined to the Army but was taken ill and removed to Clatterbridge. He leaves a widow and four children. The funeral, on Tuesday was of a military character, the service being in the Chester New Cemetery Chapel, an Army Chaplain officiating. The mourners were Mrs. Atherton, widow; Misses Clarice, Eileen and Hilda Atherton, daughters; Mr. Frank Atherton, son; Mrs. Moore, Mother; Mr. H. Moore, step-father; Mr. A. Atherton (Bury), brother; Mrs. J.H. Page and Mrs. G. Millington. The arrangements were carried out by Messrs. Edgar Dutton and Sons, Chester.
Cheshire Observer 13th July 1940
Death of Mr. G. ATHERTON :-
The death of Mr. George ATHERTON occurred on Saturday. Mr. Atherton was aged 40. During the last War he served with the Lancashire Fusiliers in India, France and the Dardenelles. After demobilisation, Mr. Atherton became an employee of the old L. and N.W. Railway Company, and worked in the Permanent way department for eleven years in Ellesmere Port and six years in Chester. For the last six years he resided in Saltney Ferry. In 1939 he resigned from his work owing to ill-health. On June 20th he joined the South Lancashire Regiment, and was taken ill two days afterwards. He is survived by his widow and four children. The Funeral took place on Tuesday at Chester New Cemetery with Military Honours. The Mourners were :- Mrs. Atherton (widow),Misses Clarice, Eileen and Hilda Atherton (daughters), Frank Atherton (son), Mr and Mrs. H. Moore, Bury (mother and step-father), Mr. A. Atherton (Bury), Uncle, Mrs. J.H. Page and Mrs. G. Millington. A floral tribute was sent by the neighbours. Edgar Dutton and Sons (Undertakers) , Ltd., Chester carried out the arrangements.
I believe that Lena was to die in the September quarter of 1964, age 65 years. (Hawarden, Flintshire Vol. 8a Page 418).
George was obviously loved and grievously missed by his wife and their children, he must be remembered, as he sacrificed so much for us all.
MY BELOVED HUSBAND; MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PEACE