George Perry Fyson

George Perry Fyson
Born in Free Church Passage, St Ives, in 1890 to Ben and Rachel (née Fyson), George was one of ten children. Births appear to have been difficult for Rachel. Four children were still born or died in infancy. The two eldest, Mabel and Arthur, were described in the 1891 census as 'imbeciles from birth'.

George's father ran his own baking business which had existed for 100 years. Ben was also a prominent member of St Ives Town Council. In 1891 the family had a domestic servant, as well as an employee lodging with them. By 1901 the family lived at The Limes, High Street, Somersham. This elegant listed building set in its own grounds clearly indicates business was booming, with three of the children working for their father. George joined his siblings in the business by 1911.

The Hunts Post reported on 10 October 1913 George being hauled before the North Hunts Revision Court. The only people allowed to vote were males who owned property or paid rent above a certain amount. The Court successfully challenged the right of Ben and George to vote. Ben lost his place on the Council as a result, but was reported as gaining his seat back again on 6 November 1914.

George was mentioned on 24 September 1915 as a member of the St Ives Volunteer Training Corps, the WWI equivalent of the Home Guard. As reported on 3 March 1916, Ben claimed exemption from call up for George on the grounds he was indispensable to the business. Three months later the family employed a solicitor to gain further exemption for George, reported on 2 June 1916. Exemption was finally refused, reported 14 July 1916.

Stretcher bearers recover a casualty at the Third Battle of Scarpe
George joined the 7th Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). He took part in the Battle of Arras, during which British forces made significant advances. The Third Battle of Scarpe commenced at 3.45am on 3 May 1917, attempting to break through the German lines. The difficulties and confusion of the battlefield come through strongly when reading the Battalion War Diary for 3 & 4 May 1917. The exercise failed, resulting in 12 officers and 368 men killed, wounded or missing.

On 25 May 1917 George was reported missing in action. The Hunts Post of 5 April 1918 indicated it took almost a year for him to be officially recorded as one of those killed in action on Thursday 3 May 1917 'or since', aged 27yrs. Because of the uncertainty, the family must have continued to hope for better news. George has no known grave and is commemorated at Arras Memorial, France, and at the family grave in Westwood Cemetery, St Ives.

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Source materials
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