George Housden Dellar

George Housden Dellar

Born in St Ives in 1889, George was the eldest of two sons and two daughters born to George, a fellmonger, and Ellen Mary (née Culpin). The family home was originally Olive Cottage, in Crown Walk, St. Ives. By 1911 the family had moved to Tenterleas, St Ives. George worked as a law clerk for Cranfield & Wheeler, solicitors.

George married Grace Harlick in January 1916. His mother died April 1916. He joined the St Ives Volunteers at the outbreak of the war and joined up with the Hunts Cyclists as reported by Hunts Post on 26 November 1915. Transferred to 1st Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, 5th Division, in July 1916. Within a few weeks he embarked to France.

On 3 September 1916 his Battalion were involved in a huge attack on Leuze Wood, near Guillemont, part of the Battle of the Somme. The objective was to go on and capture Falfemont Farm, a German fortified strong point situated on high ground overlooking the Allied positions.

Initially in reserve, at 6pm the Bedfordshires were ordered to attack and capture the south west edge of Leuze Wood. Crossing 1,000 yards of open ground to reach their objective, they came under artillery and machine gun fire and suffered casualties. Among these was George, wounded in chest.

George (1st left, back row) and family at his grandparents' 1908 Golden Wedding anniversary
His injuries were reported in the Hunts Post on 15 Sep 1916. Initially thought not serious, his parents and wife were then wired to say George was in a dangerous state at a base hospital. His father and wife travelled to France where they found him much better. They returned home, expecting him to fully recover. George was transferred to King Edward 7th Hospital, Windsor.

Unfortunately his condition again deteriorated. The first antibiotic, penicillin, was not discovered until 1928, so George's faltering health may have been due to repeated bouts of infection. His father and wife again travelled to be with him. George died at King Edward 7th Hospital on 4 December 1916, aged 27yrs. His death reported in the Hunts Post on  8 December 1916.

George was clearly popular in the town. St Ives businesses closed and the streets were lined with mourners. He was given a full military funeral, as reported on 15 December 1916. During the service at the Free Church the Rev. Hooper said 93 of their congregation had joined up, of whom 10 had been killed but only 2 had received a memorial service. Many of the congregation were reduced to tears as he read out the 10 names.

George is buried in Broad Lees Cemetery, St Ives. In addition to the St Ives War memorial, he is remembered in St Ives Free Church, St Ives Literary Society and All Saints Church. George left £175 0s 10d to his wife in his will.

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Source materials
Click any of the links below to view original source materials.
1891 Census
1901 Census
1911 Census
Index of Wills
Medal Rolls Index Card

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