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Williamson, George Edward

I found George Edward Williamson when I was researching WW2 Servicemen in the local newspapers, and found he was not on any memorial to my knowledge.   He must not be forgotten for his sacrifice and be added to any future Saltney WW2 War Memorial.

George Edward Williamson was born in the September quarter of 1922 (Hawarden Vol. 11b Page 354), the second son of Joseph & Daisy Williamson (nee Chamberlain), who had married in a Civil Marriage or Registrar attended marriage in the March quarter of 1914, in Chester (Cheshire West ROC/62/96).

Joseph is seen with his parents on the 1911 census living at Newton Hollows, Newton, Chester.  His father Thomas, 56, and a General Labourer had been born in the Parish of St. Oswalds,, Cheshire.   His mother Mary was 48 and had been born in the Parish of Hoole, Cheshire.   Joseph & Mary had been married for 24 years and 3 children had been born to them, but sadly 2 had died, so Joseph was their only surviving child.

Daisy, in 1911, is seen on the census, as Daisy Chamberlain, living with her widowed mother and siblings at No. 2 Chapel House, Stone Bridge, Saltney, Nr. Chester (Victoria Road) (4 rooms).   Ann Chamberlain, 54, was a Charwoman (Laundry Work) and had been born in Malpas.   She tells us that she had given birth to 8 children and 1 had sadly died.   Samuel, her son, was 25 and a Labourer in the Lead Light Works.   Daisy, 18 was a General Servant and both Samuel & Daisy had been born in Chester.   Their sibling Robert,14, was in School and had been born in Saltney Flintshire.

Joseph & Daisy married in 1914 as shown above and their first child, Joseph, was born in the March quarter of 1914.

Joseph, Daisy, young Joseph and Daisy’s brother Samuel Chamberlain are seen on the 1921 census living at 1 Chapel House High Street, East Saltney, Flintshire.    This source tells us that Joseph was 30 years old and born in Cheshire, he was a 3rd Hand Furnace Man working at John Summers & Sons, Steelworks, but was out of work.  Daisy, 28, had been born in Saltney, Flintshire, as had their son Joseph, 7.    Samuel Chamberlain, 37, had been born in Chester and his employer was William & William, Manufacturer, but he also was out of work.

The newspaper cutting from the Cheshire Observer 19th February 1944, tells us that George Edward was educated at the Wood Memorial School and then went on to work at Williams & Gamon of Chester and for the twelve months before joining the forces he was employed at Vitamelo in Saltney.

The next time we see the family is on the 1939 National Register, which was taken on the 29th September 1939.   They are still living at 1 Chapel Houses Salisbury Avenue, Hawarden R.D., Flintshire.   This source gives the dates of birth and it shows that Joseph was still working on the Furnaces at the Steelworks, his date of birth was the 12th August 1890.   Daisy had been born on the 15th June 1893 and as most married women, who did not have a job, was described as doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.“    Their son Dennis Williamson had been born on the 6th June 1931 and was “At School.”   There are 3 closed* or redacted records, and I find this puzzling as George Edward Williamson had been born in 1922 and may be one of the closed records, but Dennis, born in 1931 is on it, however, I have seen these anomalies quite a few times.

* The National Register tells us :- ”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.” 

I believe that the 2 of the missing children on the 1939 National Register could well have been – Ivy, born in the December quarter of 1936  (Hawarden Vol. 11b Page 326), and Eric, born in the June quarter of 1928 (Hawarden Vol. 11b Page 337).   I doubt the 3rd closed record would have been Joseph who would have been 25 years old then, but then it could have been George Edward.

Cheshire Observer 19th February 1944, which reported George Edward’s death, tells us that he volunteered in the July of 1940 at the age of 17 years and was sent overseas in October 1942.

He was to find himself in the 7th Bn. of the Cheshire Regiment and below I have found some websites, that may, at least, give an idea what George Edward went through.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheshire_Regiment

SECOND WORLD WAR

During the Second World War, the 2nd Battalion of the Cheshires served in France in 1940 with the rest of the British Expeditionary Force before fighting in the Battle of Dunkirk and subsequently being evacuated. The 1st Battalion fought in North Africa at Tobruk and subsequently took part in the crossing of the Rhine in March 1945. The 2nd Battalion took part in the D-Day landings in 1944, as part of the 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division, while the 6th and 7th Battalions fought in the Italian Campaign.[12] The 6th Battalion served with the 44th (Home Counties) Infantry Division in North Africa before transferring to the 56th (London) Infantry Division. The 5th Battalion remained within the United Kingdom for the duration of the war, providing machine gun support for the 38th Infantry (Reserve) Division, the 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division, and the 80th Infantry (Reserve) Division.[34]

https://vickersmg.blog/in-use/british-service/the-british-army/the-cheshire-regiment/

The Inter-War Period – In 1922, the Machine Gun Corps was disbanded and the guns returned to the Infantry Battalion as a Machine Gun Platoon and then formed as a Machine Gun Company in the early 1930s.

This remained until the formation of Divisional Machine Gun Battalions in 1936 where guns were brigaded once again. The Cheshires were one of those Infantry Regiments converted to this new role.

7th Battalion – 03 September, 1943, to 03 July, 1944       Italy    

     The Sangro (19 November to 03 December, 1943)

Garigliano Crossing (17 January to 31 January, 1944)

Anzio (22 January to 22 May, 1944)

Rome (22 May to 04 June, 1944)

https://military-history.fandom.com/wiki/Italian_Campaign_(World_War_II)

Italian Campaign (World War II)

Date      10 July 1943 – 2 May 1945

Location               Italy

Result   Allied victory; collapse of Fascist Italy.

Italian Campaign – The Italian Campaign of World War II was the name of Allied operations in and around Italy, from 1943 to the end of the war in Europe. Joint Allied Forces Headquarters (AFHQ) was operationally responsible for all Allied land forces in the Mediterranean theatre, and it planned and commanded the invasion of Sicily and the campaign on the Italian mainland until the surrender of German forces in Italy in May 1945.

It is estimated that between September 1943 and April 1945, some 60,000 Allied and 50,000 German soldiers died in Italy.[nb 6] Overall Allied casualties during the campaign totalled about 320,000[nb 7] and the corresponding Axis figure (excluding those involved in the final surrender) was about 336,650.[8] No campaign in the West (Mediterranean, Middle East and Western Fronts) cost more than the Italian campaign in terms of lives lost and wounds suffered by infantry forces.[10]

The independent states of San Marino and the Vatican, both surrounded by Italian territory, also suffered damage during the campaign.

George Edward was first buried, probably on the day he died, in the Celiole Military Cemetery and the reburied at the Minturno War Cemetery on the 2nd December 1944.   There were, on this Concentration Report Form, only two 7th Bn. men reburied, George on the 2nd December and a Pte. 4126120 Lloyd Parry, on the 5th December 1944.   He had died on the 5th February, 1944 and was buried the same day.   He was known as “Lloydie, ” by his family.  https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/2606413/lloyd-parry/

Taken from the Commonwealth War Graves database – History information

On 3 September 1943 the Allies invaded the Italian mainland, the invasion coinciding with an armistice made with the Italians who then re-entered the war on the Allied side. Allied objectives were to draw German troops from the Russian front and more particularly from France, where an offensive was planned for the following year. Progress through southern Italy was rapid despite stiff resistance, but by the end of October, the Allies were facing the German winter defensive position known as the Gustav Line, which stretched from the river Garigliano in the west to the Sangro in the east. Initial attempts to breach the western end of the line were unsuccessful and it was not until 17 January 1944 that the Garigliano was crossed, and Minturno taken two days later. The site for the cemetery was chosen in January 1944, but the Allies then lost some ground and the site came under German small-arms fire. The cemetery could not be used again until May 1944 when the Allies launched their final advance on Rome and the US 85th and 88th Divisions were in this sector. The burials are mainly those of the heavy casualties incurred in crossing the Garigliano in January. Minturno War Cemetery contains 2,049 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War. The cemetery was designed by Louis de Soissons.

Sadly George Edward’s mother Daisy Ellen Williamson from 177, High Street Saltney was buried at St. Mary’s Parish Church on the 9th December 1950, age 58 years.     Her husband, Joseph, was to follow her on the  4th May 1975 and was buried or cremated on the 8th May 1975.   However, they were alive to bear the grief of losing their 2nd born son as many did in this terrible war.

 

GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN THAN THIS, THAT A MAN LAY DOWN HIS LIFE FOR HIS FRIENDS


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