1914 - 2023

The Marston Lads

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Lance Corporal

George Edgar Austin

Died Prisoner of War
14th October 1916

Aged 21

10th Battalion
The Cheshire Regiment

47 Ollershaw Lane
George Edgar Austin was born in 1895 and the only child of George and Ellen. In 1911, George Edgar was living at 15 Cross Street with his Uncle Walter Poole and was an apprentice boilermaker at one of the local shipbuilders. He was 16 years old at this point.

In January 1915, George married Hannah Barton, and a son was born that year named George William. The family were living at 47 Ollershaw Lane.

It was a busy year for George because on the 26th September 1915, he was in France as part of 10th Battalion The Cheshire Regiment.

George entered service as a Private but was quickly promoted to Lance Corporal. At some point, he was taken as a prisoner of war.

An estimated 192,000 British and Commonwealth servicemen were taken captive during the First World War.

In 1914, prisoners of war transported to Germany from the Front often had to sleep in fields, where they suffered from exposure while they waited for their camps to be built. The prisoners were also used as labour to build the camps.

Starting in 1915, the German authorities put in place a system of camps, nearly three hundred in all, and did not hesitate to resort to denutrition, punishments and psychological mobbing; incarceration was also combined with methodical exploitation of the prisoners. This prefigured the systematic use of prison camps on a grand scale during the 20th century.

George Edgar Austin prisoner of war records
We will never know exactly what happened to George. We do know he asked for his uncle Walter Poole at 15 Cross Street to be informed about his capture. This I am sure was due to knowing his wife Hannah, and his young child, would need support, so it was left to Walter Poole to tell her.

Maybe she felt relieved he was at least safe, and with so many young men from the village being killed, you can hardly blame her. Sadly, it was again Walter Poole, and this time informing her that George had died 14th October 1916, aged 21 years. The notification arriving from The Red Cross.

George Edgar Austin was buried at Cologne Southern Cemetery in Germany.

Hannah went on to marry William Henry Yeomans in 1930 and had a daughter Gwen Yeomans, born 1931.

Tony Hayes