© Helvellyn Consulting 2023
Private George Readshaw
2462, 6th Battalion The Durham Light Infantry
Born 25th Feb 1884 Glenridding. Died 22nd Sept 1915 Aged 31 in Belgium.
Son of Paul and Ann (nee Oliver) Readshaw, of 3 High Cottages Glenridding and Durham
Husband of Esther and Father of Ellen and Edith from Leadgate Co Durham
George Readshaw was born on the 25th February 1884, in Glenridding, where his father Paul, originally from Country Durham, was a miner at Greenside Mine. George was the middle one of 8 children born to Paul and his wife Ann. He attended Patterdale School, and then Benfieldside School, when his family moved back to Consett, County Durham. In 1901 his father Paul died and George, and his younger brothers Oliver and Paul were working as coalminers. In 1909 His mother Ann also died, and in 1911 George, Oliver and Paul were all coalminers living together in Leadgate, County Durham.
In 1912 George married Esther Coombe, and had 2 daughters, Ellen and Edith. He had also joined the Consett Territorials and by the time war was declared was a Corporal in the local Ambulance Brigade. He joined the Durham Light Infantry on 26th August 1914 just weeks after the outbreak of war, almost certainly with his brother Oliver, and served with the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in France.
He died in No.8 Casualty Clearing Station at Bailleul, in France near the border with Belgium, on 22nd September 1915 from wounds received in action on the 20th. His death was reported in De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour (listed as Redshaw) which quotes from a letter written by Lieutenant Hugh McNair quoted on this page. His death was also reported in the Newcastle Daily Journal on Monday Sept 27th 1915 which stated:
“Information has reached 259, Watling Street, Leadgate, that Private George Readshaw, of the 6th Durhams, died from wounds at No.8 Casualty Clearing Station, on the 22nd inst. Private Redshaw was 31 years of age, and leaves a widow and two children. He was a miner at the Medomsley Busty Pit.”
George is buried in Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord. He is commemorated on the Patterdale War memorial and the Glenridding Village Hall Roll of Honour alongside his brother Oliver, who was also tragically killed in action as a member of the DLI on 23rd October 1915. Oliver was also born in Patterdale although his name was not added to the War memorial.
George's widow Esther married Albert Robinson in the Consett area. It is not known what became of George's two daughters Ellen and Edith. George’s brothers and sister all moved back to the Consett area and this is all we know at the moment. John William was born about 1872 in Stanhope, Weardale. Last record found was in Glenridding in 1881. Margaret was born about November 1877 in Rookhope, Weardale (see postscript below). Whitfield was born in 1880 in Rookhope, Weardale. He became a miner and married Sarah Ann Hardon towards the end of 1906 in the Durham area but his wife died whilst giving birth to their first child Alfred Frederick in 1910. Last record found was in 1911, where he was living in Consett with his wife's family and his 8 month old son.
Thomas Dickinson was born about February 1881 in Glenridding and baptised on the 31st May 1884. He married Lily Robinson in 1901; in 1911 they were living in Knitsley where Thomas worked at the Consett Iron Foundry. They had ten children.
George’s brother Oliver Readshaw’s story is told elsewhere on the site. The twins, Robert and Paul were born about April 1888 in Glenridding and baptised on the 9th May. Sadly, Robert died in October aged just 5 months. Last record found was in Leadgate with George and Paul in 1911.
Sidney was born about August 1889 in Patterdale. In 1912, he married Mary Williams in Durham; they had two sons.
If you can add any further information on George’s life or his family please contact us.
In April 2017 we were contact by Mr B Pull, the great great nephew of George and Oliver, whose great grandmother was Margaret, their sister. He wrote as follows:
“When the family moved to Blackhill, Consett, Margaret married my great grandfather John George Winch. They can be found in the 1901 census at Murray Street, Blackhill. In 1911 they are again recorded at 95 , Durham Road, Blackhill.
They had the following children, George Rutland my grandfather 1899, Thomas Whitfield 1900, Beatrice May 1901, Anne Elizabeth 1903, Benjamin 1905, Olive Louisa 1907, Sydney who died as an infant 1910/11. At the home was also Sydney Readshaw who was Margaret, Oliver and Georges younger brother.
Margaret Readshaw died in 1915 with the family being looked after by their father and extended family. Members of the Winch family lived in Blackhill , Benfieldside and Shotley Bridge.
They originated from Ridgewell in Essex in the early 1800’s. I didn’t know my Grandfather George Rutland Winch as he died 10 years before I was born. He was married to Veronica Frances Holland who originated from the Washington area of Durham. I understand he was gassed in the trenches during WW 1 and this had a profound impact on his life. Sadly after long term ill health he died in 1946.
My main memories relate to Margaret Readshaw’s other children, Benny and Olive Winch who remained single. They looked after me when my mother was at work in their small colliery house at 22 , Dixon Street, Blackhill. I have fond memories of playing in the back lane, and Aunt Olive making me jam sandwiches for picnics in the nearby playing field next to Consett Park and the Blue Heaps. She knitted my first Newcastle United scarf . Uncle Benny would take me to the Shotley Hunt as he was once a groom for the Priestman family who were the mine owners in the district. A couple of times he took me to Hexham Races. Benny a keen quoits player with cups and medals, was a Sergeant in the Pioneer Corp and evacuated at Dunkirk in WW2, He was a pitman and also worked at the Consett Iron Company. Because of his exposure suffered to coal dust in 1968 ( when I was 11 years old) died of pneumoconiosis. Aunt Olive who had been disabled all her life died in 1974.
I also remember their siblings Great Aunt Beatty who lived at The Grove, near to Moorside in Consett and Uncle Tommy in Blackhill but not to the same extent as Benny and Olive.
I can only presume that had I known my Great Grandmother Margaret, I would have loved her just as I did her children”
The letter reporting George’s Death from Lieutenant Hugh McNair as reported in the De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour
George’s Gravestone in Bailleul Cemetery (above) and below the news of his death as reported in the Newcastle Daily Journal on Monday Sept 27th 1915.
“I have lost a good soldier – one of the best, as a chum of his said when he heard the news. Always the same here as I knew him at home – quiet and ready to do any duty at any time. It may be of some consolation to you to know of the great esteem in which George was held by all his comrades, and his Platoon Sergt. Bainbridge asked me to tender to you his deepest sympathy. As you will doubtless know, I got a good many of the Consett and district men at Ravensworth, but I am sorry to say that the number is now greatly reduced. Perhaps you would like to know exactly how George was hurt. A heavy bombardment was going on, and the company, with the exception of the sentries, were in the shell trench just in the rear. George was on sentry in a splinter-
George’s NAME (as Redshaw) listed on the Consett Drill Hall Plaque
A photo of the children at Patterdale School in 1889, which probably includes George, and almost certainly includes his siblings Margaret, Whitefield, Thomas and Oliver. We have tried to identify as many of them as possible on our Patterdale School Then and Now page.
Durham Light Infantry, George’s younger brother