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War Memorials



In Memory of
GEORGE ALBERT PEMBLETON
Private 269227
2/8th Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby) Regiment
Who was killed in action on Wednesday, 26th September 1917
Age 36

No Known Grave Panel 99 to 102 & 162 to 162a
Memorial to the "Missing", Tyne Cot Cemetery, Passchendaele, West Flanders, Belgium

Commemorated in Perpetuity
by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
&
Remembered with Honour

Tyne Cot Cemetery, Belgium1

George Albert Pembleton was born in Nottingham on 9 February 18812, the second of nine children of Noah (b. 1855, Arnold, Notts) and Eliza, his wife (b. c1855, Beeston, née Pearson). Noah had originally worked as a framework knitter but, by 1901 he was working as a grocery porter and living with his wife and six surviving children at 46 Lilac Street, in the St Annes district of Nottingham3. By that time, the 20-year-old George Albert was working as a wood turner. Noah died in 1908, aged 53, and his widow in 1923, aged 684.

Towards the end of 1901, George Albert married Eliza Ann Norman and their daughter, Esther Stella, was born almost a year later5. By 1911, they were living at 74 Shrewsbury Road, Nottingham with George Albert working as a sawyer for a perambulator maker while his wife worked as a cigar maker6. Their son, George Albert, was born in July 19147. Shortly after this, the family moved to live at 37 Victory Road, Beeston8 which was conveniently close to Ericsson's telephone works. It is very likely that George Albert had used his woodworking skills to obtain a job at Ericsson's large cabinet shop which had opened on 1906/7.

As George's Army Service Record has not survived, we do not have a precise record of when he enlisted, but it was probably in July 19169 with Sherwood Foresters. After initial training, he joined the 2/8th Battalion which had returned from Ireland in January 1917. In 1916 it had been sent to Dublin to help quell the Easter Rising. It is likely that Private Pembleton was with the regiment when it left for France in February 1917 and soon took part in the pursuit of the German retreat to the Hindenbug Line10.

Then on the last day of July, the three-month long series of bitter battles which made up the Third Battle of Ypres - also known as Passchendaele - with 2/8th battalion taking a full part in both the Battle of Menin Road and the Battle of Polygon Wood towards the end of September. In the Polygon Wood attack on the 26th September, the battalion was positioned west of Sciler Galleries ready to move off in conjunction with 2/7th Sherwoods. At 5.50am the 2/7th were detailed to take the ground as far east as Fokker Farm to be followed through by 2/8th which was to take the ground up to Riverside. The attack went entirely according to plan and all objectives were taken within the planned timetable. A later German counter-attack caused problems but the positions were held. On that day, and the days following there were heavy casualties totaling 11 officers and 239 other ranks injured. Seven men were killed and 39 were missing. Three officers and 89 men were gassed on the 27th. It appears that Private Pembleton was amongst those recorded as missing on the 26th11.

As Private Pembleton's body was never identified he is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing within the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery of that name. The cemetery grounds were assigned to the United Kingdom in perpetuity by King Albert I of Belgium in recognition of the sacrifices made by the British Empire in the defence and liberation of Belgium during the war. On the forward slope of the Passchendaele Ridge is the largest cemetery for Commonwealth forces in the world, for any war. The cemetery and its surrounding memorial are located outside of Passchendaele, near Zonnebeke in Belgium. The Cross of Sacrifice is to be found in a central position in the cemetery, at the base of the cross a small patch of the original German Block House can still be seen, contained within a bronze wreath, while on the far side, between it and the memorial wall, is a collection of some 300 graves. These are the original battle-field burials left where they were found after the Armistice. The other some nearly 12,000 graves which stand in parade ground order, were brought in from the surrounding area after the Armistice. The stone wall surrounding the cemetery makes up the Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing. On completion of the Menin Gate memorial to the missing in Ypres, it was discovered that it was too small to contain all the names that were originally planned. An arbitrary cut-off point of 15th August was chosen and the names of the UK missing after this date were inscribed on the Tyne Cot Memorial instead. The memorial contains the names of 33,783 soldiers of the UK forces and a further 1,176 New Zealanders.12.

Private Pembleton was posthumously awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal13. His financial effects, amounting to 2 7 5d were paid to his widow, as sole legatee, on 30 November 1918 and she was also paid his War Gratuity of 4 10s on 22 November 191914.

In November 1921 there was another family tragedy when George & Eliza's daughter, Esther Stella died, aged only 1915. Later that year, Eliza married widower Charles Alexander Alcock16 and they continued to live at Victory Road - albeit apparently moving next door to number 41 at some point. Charles died in 1948 and Eliza was to live until 1974, aged 9217. George and Eliza's son, George Albert Pembleton, married Jane Campbell in 1936 and lived for a time on Ashfield Avenue, Beeston. Older Beeston residents will remember them as the proprietors of a chip shop, in the 1940s and 50s, at 31 Middle Street, Beeston, opposite the White Lion. He died in Nottingham in 1987.

At least three of George's brothers served in the war. Henry Leonard had emigrated to Canada in 1910 and had settled in Guelph, Ontario. In September 1916, he enlisted with 54th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force and was killed in action while in trenches south of Givechy on 31 March 1917. He is remembered on the Vimy Memorial. Both Herbert Noel and Harold enlisted in December 1915. Herbert Noel joined 5th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment in France in June 1916. He became a prisoner of war in June 1917 and was released and repatriated in December 1918. Harold joined 4th Battalion Sherwood Foresters in France in November 1916, was promoted to Lance Corporal and survived the war, albeit having been wounded in August 191718.


Footnotes
1The photograph of the Tyne Cot Memorial is from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. (http://www.cwgc.org)
2His birth was registered in Nottingham Registration District in Q1/1881 (Ref 7b 336). Is full birth date was recorded when he was baptised at St Annes Church, Nottingham on 4 September 1881.
3Nottingham, 1901 Census, Piece 3178 Folio 32. George's then living siblings were Henry Leonard (b. 1879), Arthur (b. c1884), Mary Stella (b. c1888), Herbert Noah (b. c1890) and Harold (b. 1892). Three others are believed to have died young.
4Noah died in March 1908 and was buried in a Nottingham Cemetery on 5 March 1908 (Find a Grave website). Eliza's death was recorded in Nottingham Registration in Q1/1923 (Ref 7b 357).
5The marriage was recorded in Nottingham Registration District in Q4/1901 (Ref 7b 567). Esther Stella is believed to have been born on 17 September 1902, in Nottingham.
6Nottingham, 1911 Census, Piece 20526 RD430 SD2 ED13 Sched 332.
7His birthdate of 29 July 1914 was recorded on his death registration.
8This address is recorded in the documentation connected with George's CWGC record.
9The probable date of George's enlistment has been calculated from the amount of his War Gratuity. There is a record in the Medal Roll that he was originally attached to 1/7th Battalion with the Service Number 2006
10Details of the battalion's deployment are based on the Forces War Records website (www.forces-war-records.co.uk/units/319/sherwood-foresters-nottinghamshire-and-derbyshire-regiment).
11This account of the battalion's involvement in the Battle of Polygon Wood is derived from its war diary.
12The description of the Tyne Cot Cemetery and Memorial is based on that on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. (http://www.cwgc.org)
13Details from George's Medal Card and Medal Roll - available on ancestry.com.
14Details from "Army Register of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929" - available on ancestry.com.
15The death of Esther Stella Pembleton was registered in Basford Registration District (of which Beeston was part) in Q4/1921 (Ref 7b 271). It is believed that the actual date was 15 November 1921.
16Their marriage was recorded in Basford Registration District in Q3/1921 (Ref 7b 516)
17Her death was registered in Basford Registration District in September 1974 (Ref 8 137)
18Details from Herbert Noel & Harold's Army Service Records and Henry Leonard's Canadian Expeditionary Force documentation, which survive and available on ancestry.com.

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