Quorn WW1 Roll of Honour - George Ernest Lee
Died 13th November 1916, aged 22
A hard start in life and moving to Quorn
George Lee had a harsh start to his short life. He was born in Horninglow Union Workhouse in Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, in 1895; the illegitimate son of 23 year old Clara Lee, who was in service in Burton.
Clara eventually found work in Leicestershire, and in 1901, at the age of 29, she married 50 year old farm labourer Alfred Jalland, a widower from Quorn, with six daughters. They settled in Alfred’s tiny three roomed cottage on Meeting Street, rented from the Farnham family, and soon had another four children to add to their brood. Records indicate that the cottage was one of the mews type cottages, which are now numbers 63 and 65, and are set back behind number 67.
Married life in Quorn
When he was 20 years old in 1914, George married 21 year old Minnie Taylor in Quorn Parish Church. At this time he was employed as a leather worker, whilst Minnie was a winder, almost certainly at Wright’s factory in the village. It can be seen from the marriage certificate (below) that the vicar originally entered Alfred as George’s father, but then realising his mistake, crossed it out. Clara and Alfred have both signed as witnesses.
George and Minnie continued to live in Quorn and George worked locally. Pauline Shacklock in 1999, in her book ‘The Royal British Legion in Quorn’, records that George was known to all in the village as ‘Dobber’ Lee. Just over a year after their marriage, the young couple had a son, George Alfred Lee. He was born on 19th August 1915 and baptised a month later on 12th September. At his son’s baptism, George’s occupation was entered as a wagoner (a carrier), so he must have enlisted after this date, possibly not until compulsory conscription was introduced in March 1916. He joined the South Staffordshire Regiment.
Killed in action
George could only have been in action for a relatively short time, as it is recorded in the Book of Remembrance in Quorn Church that he was killed on 13th November 1916 and buried at Hebuterne Cemetery in France. Many bodies were exhumed and reburied after the war and today his grave can be found in Serre Road No.1 Cemetery, which is very close to Hebuterne. George is also commemorated on the Carillion War Memorial in Loughborough.
Young George Alfred was 15 months old when his father was killed. Initially George was notified as being missing, and it was not until seven months later in June 1917 that his death was finally confirmed.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission recorded Minnie’s address after George’s death, as Duke Street in Loughborough. Minnie continued to live on Duke Street for the rest of her life and never remarried. She died at the end of 1957 aged 64.
1) A modern photograph of 63 and 65 Meeting Street, set back behind number 67.
2) George and Minnie’s birth certificate, with Alfred Jalland’s name crossed out.
3) George’s entry in the illuminated Book of Remembrance which sits in Quorn St Bartholomew’s Church today.