From Mrs Margaret Newsham his sister.

Missing in Burma 22/3/ 44

Born 13/2/22 of 12 Langley Rd Lancaster to Barbara Ellen and Richard Squirrell at my Grandma Mrs F White's home, he being the first born child of this union. Later living at St Leonardsgate Lancaster until the Newton estate was built.

Our house was No 6 Coniston Rd where my mother lived for over 40 years until she died in 1972, having lost my father her husband in 1935 leaving her with 4 children to bring up. George was 13, Barbara 9 ,Frank 7 and myself Margaret age 4; I am the last one alive. George attended Newton School until he was 11 years old (Since demolished and houses built on the land) then he went back as my mother used to sat to the Boys National School on St Leonard's Gate. I am saying he went back there; my mother used to tell us that that she lost him when he was three years old and a teacher came across from the school for her to come for him because they could not budge him, he was sat in the class with the older boys. This School has also been demolished and sheltered housing built. The school amalgamated with Ripley St Thomas. He was a smashing brother to all of us, more like a father figure. He used to see to our breakfast before we went to school as my mother would get us up and ready but she had to go to work cleaning at Lancaster Town Hall for 6 am. George was rather tall with flaming red hair as mine was until it started going grey! My mother said the only time he cheeked a neighbour was because she had called him carrot top - he couldn't stand that nickname. He went to work at Lansil on Caton Road and stayed there until he war started. He always bought my mother a milky way out of his spending money. He joined he terriers and I believe he enjoyed it and go one holiday with them at Abergavenny in Wales. I remember he bought us back a stick of rock each and a locket for my mother; he told her to look after it as it was gold. I still have it, it is as black as the ace of spades.

However as I remember he was called up right away as he was in the terriers. I can see him now standing up against the mantlepiece in his uniform and with my Mother, and her and I were in tears. He said if you don't stop I will go straight to France. He was only going to Morecambe! They were billeted in the Carleton Cafe on the promenade. They were not allowed out but my mother and I went down with some sandwiches and home baking and the sergeant let him come to the door. These reminiscences are all that my mother held dear; to her it was Christmas when he came home on leave but he would not go out. My mother couldn't understand this as he always went out with his mates. On Boxing Day a policeman came for him from Lancaster Station. He told my mother that they had told them to pick him up because he hadn't got permission to come home. He told my mother he knew where he would be so he left him at home but he had to take him because the military police were coming the next day to take him and a few of his mates back to base. Again we were of with sandwiches and baking and they were in the old cells playing cards with the policemen on duty below Lancaster Town Hall.

I don't know if this is any use to you but it is a lovely feeling writing about these things. My niece took the Rangoon Memorial and commemorative information I think by e mail, ( A download from the Commonwealth War Graves Commision web site) I am not up on these things. Also I am enclosing letter George wrote to my sister from India. He is on the Lansil memorial of the second world war here. Photos as he was when he was growing up and the large one he sent from India. Not a lot of momentos left I am afraid, but I still have his bible given to him in 1933 for good attendance at St Mary's Mission, Bulk Rd, Lancaster. It is still there as far as I know the last time I was that way, I think the Salvation Army were using it. I hope some of these items are of us to you. Please don't forget to send them back as they are very precious to me and of no value to anyone else.

Yours sincerely

Margaret Newsham

PS In The Great War my late husbands uncle, William Stoddard, died in France, the eldest son of William and Mary Ann Stoddard brother of Fanny, Harold and Mary of 73 Prospect Street Lancaster. Sorry I have no more information, only this large medal (The "Widow's Mite" still in the original wrapping with a message from the King). His name is on the Cenotaph (See Lancaster Book of Honour).

Extracts from a letter from George to his sister Babs, From Gough Barracks Secunderbad India:

".... have you started dancing yet? I suppose you will have by the time I come home. Its not as romantic as it looks this India; I have seen the Taj Mahal and a load of other sights but it still can't beat Blighty.

I want to ask you one thing and that is to look after your mother as you are the eldest. Its a better life out here for a soldier, he can get as many fags as he likes cheap but the beer is very dear. I wish I could see some snow the damn sun is scorching every day. If I can send a parcel I will send some Indian silk for you and our Margaret.

I will close now so God Bless you and keep you safe till my return

Your ever loving brother George



A lad growing into a man.

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