VAD George Thorpe

Voluntary Aid Detachment page

Red Cross, St John Ambulance Brigade and Royal Army Medical Corpsbadges

George Thorpe

Corporal; Stretcher Bearer, Convoy and Orderly Duties

A man with a black uniform and white trimmings, wearing a medal.

We think this may be George Thorpe.

Early life:
George Thorpe was baptised on 10th October 1869 at St. Peter's Church in Felkirk, near Barnsley. I believe he was born in the third quarter of that year, his birth registered in nearby Hemsworth.

George Thorpe's baptism record

His parents had married the year before, both having been married and widowed before. They were George, a labourer and mason from Sandal Magna, and Hannah Thorpe formerly Wike, nee Wright of Barnsley. He had several half sisters who were some years older than him - Elizabeth (1840), Hannah (1845), Jane (1847) and Sarah Ann (1855) from his father's first marriage, and Ann Elizabeth (1849) from his mother's first marriage.

In 1871 they lived in the village of Cudworth. George (senior) was 51 and working as a mason. Hannah was 41 years old. All of George's half sisters lived away from the family home.

The Thorpe family on the 1871 census

George (senior) died in 1873, his death registered in Hemsworth and sadly Hannah died in 1876. I am unsure where this left George for the first few years of his being orphaned, but at the time of the 1881 census he was residing at the Union Workhouse in Hemsworth. He was described as a scholar, and a report from a Poor Law Board Inspector noted that there was a school on site, although the report was written a few years before in 1867.

I have not been able to locate George on the 1891 census as yet.

The first record I have found showing George in the Worth Valley area is his marriage, on 12th May 1894 at St. John's Church in Ingrow to Martha Alice Newton of Hebble Row in Oakworth. The marriage record states that George lived in Lees at the time and he was working as a weaver.

George's marriage to Martha Alice Newton

In 1901 they lived on Hebble Row. George was described as a cotton weaver. They had three children - Hilda (six), Milton (five) and Elsie (ten months).

The 1901 census

Sadly Milton died the following year on January 15th, aged just six. He was buried in Haworth.

In 1911 the family still lived on Hebble Row and George was working as a warehouseman. Hilda was working as a weaver, Elsie at school.

War service and later:
George worked from May 1915 until May 1919 as a stretcher bearer in convoy work and undertaking orderly duties at both Spencer Street Auxiliary Hospital and Morton Banks War Hospital. He completed 1,500 hours of service and held the rank of Corporal. By this time the family had moved to Hebden Road.

His older daughter Hilda married in 1919 to Robert Atkinson Needham, a Corporal with the 38th Canadian Battalion, CEF who was from York, Ontario. Elsie married in 1939.

George and Martha remained at Hebden Road for the rest of their lives. Martha died on June 19th 1936 at the age of 66, and George died the following year on July 19th, aged 68. Both were buried with their son, Milton.

England and Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915
West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1910
1871 England Census
1881 England Census
1901 England Census
1911 England Census
England and Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1837-1915
West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Deaths and Burials, 1813-1985
West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1813-1935
The Workhouse in Hemsworth, Yorkshire, W. Riding (

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