I know he loved me dearly’

The Sentinel - - THE WAY WE WERE -

young years, which Ge­orge had spent around the streets of the Mother Town, that war broke out in Europe and a 22 -year-old Ge­orge along with three of his brothers we called to war in 1914.

Join­ing the Royal en­gi­neers, it wasn’t long be­fore Ge­orge found him­self in the thick of the war, which ac­cord­ing to his Grand­daugh­ter, Phillipa Mar­son, left its scars on Ge­orges mind. She said: “He never talked much about the war but he did re­call see­ing on a hill hun­dreds of Scot­tish lads, who’d been killed and said that as the wind cut through it blew their kilts about.

“An­other time he briefly talked to me about watch­ing the lads go out over the top of the trenches, know­ing they would not be com­ing back.”

Ge­orge served in the Royal En­gi­neers up un­til the end of the war and al­though he sur­vived, his three brothers were not so for­tu­nate.

The time spent serv­ing his coun­try dur­ing those four years, be­tween 1914-18, earned Ge­orge his first of five medals the Star, Bri­tish War medal and Vic­tory medal.

Fol­low­ing the war Ge­orge met Anne Lewis and sev­eral years later in 1921 the two young lovers got mar­ried.

De­spite his age, 47, mean­ing he could not serve over­seas when the Sec­ond World War broke out in 1939. Ge­orge did not let that stop him an­swer­ing the call of duty, he en­listed in the Home Guard de­fend­ing the lo­cal pop­u­la­tion of the Pot­ter­ies for the du­ra­tion of the con­flict.

It was while on duty one night that Ge­orge was called in to ac­tion.

A Ger­man bomber came down close to where he was sta­tioned, killing sev­eral of the crew. Ge­orge, quick to ac­tion, ap­pre­hended the two surviving crew, who had bailed out, ar­rest­ing them and hand­ing them over to be taken into cus­tody by the Army. Search­ing the scene Ge­orge came across a sil­ver cig­a­rette holder, be­long­ing to one of the Ger­man crew - which he kept as a sou­venir.

It was an act which led Ge­orge to earn a fur­ther two medals for de­fence of the UK in 1945.

Hav­ing served and sur­vived two World Wars, Ge­orge hung up his hel­met and turned his hand to serv­ing the pub­lic by open­ing a shop sell­ing meats and other pro­duce, which as Phillipa re­calls, thanks to her mother was also a ben­e­fit to those less for­tu­nate than the pay­ing cus­tomers. She said: “When my grandad use to cut up the ham and other food, there would of­ten be of cuts which would go by the side and not nec­es­sar­ily sold, so my mother would scoop them up and when or­gan­i­sa­tions such as the Sis­ters of the Poor, came around she would give them what food was go­ing spare.”

Ge­orge worked at the Han­ley mar­ket stall un­til he was in his 80s when he re­tired, un­for­tu­nately not long af­ter call­ing time on his of­ten colour­ful work­ing life Ge­orge was in­volved in a bad car ac­ci­dent while out driv­ing the white van which he used for de­liv­er­ies and pick­ing up pro­duce for the busi­ness.

Grand­daugh­ter Philippa said:“he had kept hold of the van, af­ter he re­tired, he’d driven it for years and then not long af­ter stop­ping work­ing he had a re­ally bad ac­ci­dent which left him un­able to fully look af­ter him­self.”

With a life­time of be­ing ac­tive and al­ways on the go, Ge­orge now found him­self re­stricted in his move­ments, strug­gling to deal with the day to day.

Phillipa who was in her 20s at the time, had been away from the area for some­time, re­turned home to find her grand­fa­ther a far dif­fer­ent per­son, phys­i­cally, than she re­mem­bered.

She said: “He wasn’t able to cook for him­self or do a lot of the day to day things so I started to look af­ter him, tak­ing him meals and help­ing with those ba­sic things.”

Ge­orge who de­spite his time in the Royal En­gi­neers, Home Guard and grow­ing up around the pot­banks of Burslem never, ac­cord­ing to Philippa, smoked or drank.

Phillipa said of her grand­fa­ther: “He was a straight, no-non­sense man who said what he thought and this didn’t al­ways go down well.

“Many saw my grandad as dif­fi­cult to talk to and get on with but al­though he didn’t talk much and we would al­ways eat in si­lence, and he never did things like hug, I knew he loved me.”

Fol­low­ing Ge­orge’s ac­ci­dent he sold the house he’d lived in for decades and had a bun­ga­low built, it was in here that Phillipa has one of her fond­est mem­o­ries of her Grandad.

She said: “There was one time which I will al­ways re­mem­ber fondly. He smoked a pipe and would of­ten do so in the bed­room. One day he said to me “there’s fleas on my mat­tress.”

“He kept on about it for a while and wanted to throw it out, so I went to take a look.

“Go­ing into his bed­room I saw all these lit­tle black specks over the mat­tress, as I looked closer they weren’t mov­ing so I dusted it with my hand - it was tobacco from his pipe.”

Ge­orge who died in 1978, aged 86 will al­ways be re­mem­bered by his grand­daugh­ter, Phillipa, as the no-non­sense man who served his coun­try and the com­mu­nity, who won the Lon­don to Brighton walk and who de­spite not show­ing it, loved her dearly.

A sil­ver cigerette holder Ge­orge got from a Ger­man Bomber shot down dur­ing the Sec­ond World War. Ge­orge Chetwynd dressed for ser­vice dur­ing the First World War.

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