My 2x great grandfather George House was born on 9th February 1879 in Fawley, Hampshire. He was the oldest of 11 children; George (1879-1950), William (1880-1915), Andrew (1883-?), John (1884-1901), Mark (1885-1970), Alec Edward (1887-1956), Jack (1889-1960), Annie Louisa (1890-1950), Nellie (1892-1949) and Lily May (1894-1940). Their parents were George and Annie Eliza House (nee Mintram). Annie Eliza was more commonly known as Lily.
In 1881 George was only 2 years old and was living with his parents and his younger brother William on Hardley Common in Fawley. In 1891 George was recorded as being a scholar. His age of 12 years old meant that he had already been going to school for a number of years. The family was now living at Fourshells in Fawley. In the 10 years between 1881 and 1891, the family had grown by 5, because George now had 5 brothers and a sister, rather than just himself and one brother. All of the children except the two youngest were at school.
In 1885 George was attending Fawley Board Mixed School. His teacher was James Montague Yeoman. The school register states that he had previously attended Fawley Infants School, which was most probably the first school he attended.
On 21st September 1898 at the age of 19 years 7 months and 13 days, George enlisted in the Royal Marines Light Infantry, in Southampton. The photo below shows George in his Royal Marines uniform. The original is a black and white photograph that was professionally coloured at the time.
On 30th March 1907, George House married Emma Eliza Cook in Fawley, Hampshire. At the time of their marriage, Emma was pregnant with their first child. The photograph below shows the couple’s wedding, but it seems that it has been cut out of a larger photograph, in order to only show George and Emma. We do not know why this would have happened, but it could have been to fit inside a small frame?
On the 1911 Census, George and Emma (who had at this time gone by her middle name, Eliza) were living at 50 Cobden Street in Gosport. They were living with their second son, Andrew. Their first son was living with George’s parents, George and Annie at Ashdown, Fawley. This could have been because Emma would have pregnant with her third child. She may not have been able to cope with two young boys at that time, as she would have had to do all the housework and cooking as well.
At this time, George was in the Light Infantry Royal Marines at the Forton Barracks in Gosport, which was about 0.3 miles away (about 2 streets away) from his home down Cobden Street. The photograph below shows George working as a chef there, which was his second role at the barracks. He is the man on the bottom left.
The couple went on to have a total of 4 children, whose names were George Henry Alec, Andrew Mark, Lilian Alice and my great-grandmother Dorothy Annie May. The photograph below shows George and Emma’s 4 children in order of age, from left to right.
My grandmother remembers her mother telling her a story that they got the train from down south, up to Hedon Station. They then rented a horse and carriage in Hedon, in order to travel to Paull.
George was discharged from the Royal Marines on 22nd October 1919. The image below shows a copy of his discharge certificate.
The medals shown in the photograph below are what he received during his served time. His cap pin is also there. The medals are from left to right:
- 1914-1915 Star
- 1914-1919 Silver Medal
- 1914-1919 Great War for Civilisation Medal
- 1912-1919 For Long Service and Good Conduct Silver Medal
- (Bottom Right) For Faithful Service in the Special Constabulary Bronze Medal
After being discharged from the Royal Marines, George was offered a job as a coastguard in Paull, East Yorkshire. George took the opportunity and moved to Paull with his family, about the same year. They moved into the Coastguard Cottage, which is joined to the lighthouse in Paull. One of George’s jobs was to bring dead bodies in that had washed up on the shore of Paull beach. My great-grandmother told my grandmother that she remembered living at the Coastguard Cottage.
At some point in time, George started working at Paull Battery which is now called Fort Paull. He worked there as a night watchman during World War 2.
After a number of years, the family moved to Lakes Farm, which is situated on the back road towards Thorngumbald from Paull. My great-grandmother had once told my grandmother that the farm was only a small holding with pigs and chickens. George used to grow his own vegetables too, which meant they were self-sufficient. My great-grandmother used to name the chickens and see them as her pets, so she never ate them when they were used for food! One time my great grandmother was feeding the pigs, whilst wearing George’s coat. She hung it over the fence, but the pigs got hold of it and ate it!
It was from this farm that George’s four children would walk to Thorngumbald in hobnail boots, in order to go to school. This used to happen in all kinds of weather. George’s grandson, William Cecil Hunter, who was the son of Dorothy my great-grandmother, was born at Lakes Farm in 1930.
After the farm, the family later lived further up the road, at 30 Main Street. My grandmother, her siblings and cousins all remember/remembered this house – some more than others. This was the house where George’s wife was caught in a fire that started in her bedroom. This happened in 1961, 11 years after George had already passed away.
On the 1939 Register, George was living with wife Emma, his daughter Lilian and a grandchild whose record is closed. They were living at 30 Main Street in Paull, East Yorkshire. George was a Watchman for the War Department.
The photograph below (on the left) shows George as an older man. He is smoking a pipe and sat in what looks like a rocking chair. This photograph would have been taken in Paull in about the late 40s. On the right is a photograph of George’s father (also George). Notice that they are the double of each other. They both even smoked a pipe!
My grandmother’s cousin David told me that his grandad, George, always had his pipe in his mouth, no matter what he was doing!
George sadly passed away on 14th June 1950 whilst he was on duty as a night watchman at Paull Battery. He had had a heart attack at some time whilst on duty that night. According to my grandmother’s cousin David, George used to take a stick whilst he was on duty. He said that this could have been to assist him with walking, but he apparently used to tap the stick, which could have been in order to keep the time. Nobody knew what had happened to George until he didn’t come home the next morning and they didn’t hear the stick tapping!
George was buried in Paull Churchyard, later that June. The photo below shows his gravestone. The gravestone does not look at clear as this nowadays, as it is about 66 years old. Because of that, I am glad that I have this photograph so that in the future we can still read what is inscribed.
Thank you very much for reading,