George Buckley was born in the September quarter of 1920 in the Chester Registration District (Chester Vol. 8a Page 713), the son of John & Rebecca Buckley (nee Bird). I believe that he was the 1st of 5 children, but suspect that one, Thomas, born in 1923, died before 1928, as another son, Thomas was born in 1928. George’s parents had married in St. Mary’s Church, Chester in 1919 (Cheshire West CE14/11/196).
It seems from the censuses that Rebecca and John were next door neighbours on the 1901 and 1911 censuses, so it was it a “boy next door” romance perhaps?
John Buckley is seen on the 1911 census living at 29, Greenway Street, Chester, Cheshire. His father Joseph Buckley, 54, was head of the household and he was a Salmon Fisherman on his own Account. His wife Mary Ann Buckley, 51, tells us that she had given birth to 18 children and that 5 had died. They had been married 35 years. Son Joseph Buckley, 22, was single and a Labourer in the Ironworks. Daughter Jane Buckley, 9, and son Thomas Buckley, was 18 and single. John Buckley, 15, was single and a Salmon Fisherman. There was a boarder living there as well, Elijah Jones, age 6. All had been born in Chester.
Rebecca Buckley (nee Bird) is seen living next door at 27, Greenway Street, Chester, Cheshire. (5 rooms). William Bird, 57, was head of the household and a widower. He was a Fisherman on his own Account, at home. William tells us that he had been married 35 years, 8 children born, but 1 had died – this was crossed out by the Enumerator, as he was widowed). His son John Bird, 25 and single was a Casement Maker. Son George Bird, 18, was single and a General Labourer. Daughter Mary Bird, 21 and single was a Tobacco Spinner. Daughter Rebecca Bird, 16 and single she was a Housekeeper (at Home). They had all been born in Greenway Street, Chester.
By the 1921 census Rebecca Buckley (nee Bird) is seen living with her brother John Bird at 13, Greenway Street, Chester with George age 1. John BUCKLEY on the night of the Census was living at his parent’s house :- 1921 Census Of England & Wales image – John, Joseph, Mary Ann and 4 others are on this record.
By the 1939 National Register, John, Rebecca and family were living at Higher Ferry, Row Cottages, Hawarden, Flintshire, Wales and this source gives us the dates of birth. John Buckley had been born on the 19th September 1895 and was a Ferryman on the River Dee. Rebecca’s birth date was the 29th November 1894 and as many married women on this register who did not have a job, was described as doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.” George’s birth was stated as being on the 17th June 1920 was single, a Labourer and a Machine Box Riveter. John Buckley had been born on the 12th July 1925, was single and a Labourer – Learner & Helper to Machines. Thomas Buckley had been born on the 3rd July 1928 and Charles Buckley had been born on the 3rd April 1933, both were at School.
A newspaper cutting throws some light on George’s life:-
Cheshire Observer 2nd September 1944.
Gnr. G. Buckley Killed in Action
Mr. & Mrs. J. Buckley of Higher Ferry, Sealand, have received news that their son Gunner George Buckley has been killed in Action. Aged 24, he enlisted in January 1941, and in civilian life was employed by the Rustproof Metal Window Co. He was previously in the Home Guard. Gunner Buckley was educated at Mold Junction School. His brother, Pte. J. Buckley is serving in the Forces and his father served throughout the last war being wounded three times. Gunner Buckley was a keen footballer and played for the Flintshire Reserves, Chester Reserves and Rustproof.
History information (From the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.) – The Allied offensive in north-western Europe began with the Normandy landings of 6 June 1944. For the most part, the men buried at Banneville-la-Campagne War Cemetery were killed in the fighting from the second week of July 1944, when Caen was captured, to the last week in August, when the Falaise Gap had been closed and the Allied forces were preparing their advance beyond the Seine. The cemetery contains 2,170 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War, 140 of them unidentified, and five Polish graves.
6th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment
Second World War – The 59th Anti-Tank Regiment served with the 43rd (Wessex) Infantry Division and went with them to Normandy. The 6th were commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Donald Ray on D-Day, however he was killed the following month from wounds received in action near Caen.
On the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 the Territorial Army was doubled in size. As a result, a 2nd Line duplicate unit was raised as 69th Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery (TA) with headquarters at Gosport. The unit was redesignated in 1943 as 69th Light Anti-Aircraft /Anti-Tank Regiment RA (TA). It was subsequently converted to an infantry role and amalgamated with 51st (Westmorland and Cumberland) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery as 51st/69th Infantry Regiment, Royal Artillery, serving with the Chindits in which 69th LAA/AT Rgt provided 69 Column.
59 (Duke of Connaught’s Hampshire) Anti-Tank Regiment RA(TA)
59 (Duke of Connaught’s Hampshire) Anti-Tank Regiment RA(TA) was converted from 6th Battalion The Hampshire Regiment with four batteries in November 1938. The Regiment was put in suspended animation in April 1946. In January 1947 it was re-constituted as 383 (Duke of Connaught’s Hampshire) Anti-Tank Regiment RA(TA).
3 Sep 39 43 Infantry Division Portsmouth, Hampshire, UK
Sep 41 Cadre to form 81 Anti-Tank Regiment
Jun 44 43 Infantry Division NW Europe
Anti-Tank Regiment Royal Artillery.
How to order a British Army WW2 Service Record.
Casualty List (page 8) – George was the only casualty from the 59 Anti-Tank Regt. on that list and on that day.
George’s Casualty Card tells us he was born in Handbridge, Chester and that his domicile was Sealand, Chester. Place of death was stated as “Unknown Europe.”
George was buried, probably on the day he died, at ARCLAIS, France Sh. 7F/5 954347 – Map reference – GSGS 4250 1/5555 DDGR. (See the Commonwealth War Graves Concentration Report Form below), and then reburied on the 7th December 1945 where he is resting now.
George would have been loved and missed by his family and I do not know of any Memorial where he is remembered, as he should be for his sacrifice.
His father John Buckley died on the 22nd March 1955 age 59 years old, Rebecca Buckley, his mother, died on the 7th September 1974 age 79 years old, so they were alive to suffer the grief of George’s loss. Thanks to https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/197772988/rebecca-buckley