Old map of Crocked way | Parish of Kingsbury Episcopi

George Newis


The forgotten soldier

Rank, service number and regiment

Lance Corporal 219523, 54th Battalion, Canadian Infantry

Enlisted

The precise date when George enlisted is not yet known.

Home address

Crooked Way, Stembridge in 1911 census. From May 1911 he was living in Ontario, Canada and when married – 73 Cedar Street, Brockville, Ontario.

Date of death

28 October 1916

Age of death

25 years

Circumstances of death

The 54th Battalion Canadian Infantry were engaged in the Battle of Ancre Heights which was part of the over-arching battle of the Somme. This lasted from 1 July 1916 to November 1916. The 54th Battalion were in trenches at Courcelette near the town of Albert. The Battalion diaries show an almost daily toll of soldiers killed and injured. George suffered serious gunshot wounds on 26 October 1916 and was evacuated behind the lines to one of the military hospital facilities in Etaples on the French coast near Le Touquet. Sadly, George’s injuries were so serious that he died of his wounds in hospital on 28 October 1916 and was buried in the military cemetery nearby.

Where buried

Etaples Military Cemetery, France, where there are nearly 11,000 burials from the nearby military hospital facilities.

Date of birth & full name

6 January 1891. GEORGE WOLSLEY NEWIS

Occupation

Farm labourer in Somerset but a Locomotive Fireman for the Grand Trunk Railway in Canada.

Parents

George Newis and Mary Hester Newis (nee Hill), married 1889. George died in 1912 and Mary Hester in 1916.

Spouse & children

Married to Jean Kerr on 9 October 1915 in Ontario, she was originally from Kingston, Glasgow, Scotland. No record of any children.

Awards

British War Medal and Victory Medal.

Other information

George emigrated to Canada in May 1911 as a labourer.
His Canadian army attestation papers show he was 5’ 11” tall, 38” chest, light brown hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion. His religious denomination was Presbyterian.
George’s younger brother William Richard Newis also emigrated to Canada and served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He was also a locomotive fireman with the Grand Trunk Railway, however, he survived the war.
Another Newis, James, who was probably a second cousin to George W. Newis, emigrated to Canada in 1903. He farmed at Mervin, Saskatchewan until he retired to Winnipeg in 1943. He died in 1967.
James Newis’s name appears in error on the War Memorial in St.Martin’s Church. George Newis’s name is now correctly inscribed on the Centenary Commemoration Plaques of 2018, which are located in the four churches of the parish, the Community Centre, the Primary School and The Wyndham Arms.
The house in Crooked Way no longer exists. It is shown on the map of 1903, next to the red dot – see photo below. There are fragments of brick, stone, slate and tiles in the field where it once stood. The photo to the right of the cap badge shows some of these fragments unearthed on this site.

Old map of Crocked way | Parish of Kingsbury Episcopi