George Lewin

Name George Lewin
Corps Northamptonshire Regiment "D" Company 5th Battalion
Rank Private
Service No. 16684
Date of entry 31 May 1915
Date of death 9 December 1917 aged 31 Died of wounds
Campaign Medals Victory Medal British War Medal
Memorial Section IV. A. 33. Tincourt New British Cemetery

George Lewin was born in 1887, the youngest of three children born to Frederick Herbert Lewin, a road labourer originally from Seaton, and his second wife Harriet nee Groocock. The family lived at Town’s End, Middleton. Frederick Herbert was in his forties when he married Harriet. His first wife may have been named Jane as a Jane Lewin was buried at Cottingham in January 1881 at the age of forty.

Frederick and Harriet married in February 1881 and had two children besides George, Susanna and Herbert. In 1901, when George was fourteen, they were still at Town’s End. Frederick was by then unemployed and Harriet was working as a washerwoman. One of their near neighbours were the Vye family whose baby son Frederick James Vye was killed in the 2nd Battle of Albert in 1918. George’s elder brother Herbert had found work as a blast furnace man at Woodford near Thrapston in 1901 but died in 1907; their sister Susanna married in 1908 and moved to Corby.

The household had previously also included Harriet’s son Arthur Samuel Groocock, born 1878, who became a railway signalman and moved to Graffham near St. Neots. Arthur died in 1904 leaving a wife and young son. Fredrick Lewin himself died in 1905, so Harriet lost her husband and two of her sons within three years.

Her remaining son George got married in 1910 to Catherine Jane Dye of Easton under the Hill. In 1911 he was employed as a bricklayer’s labourer and the young couple lived with Harriet until she too died in the following year.

George enlisted as a volunteer into the 5th (Service) Battalion of the Northamptonshire Regiment on 31st May 1915. The 5th Battalion had been formed in August 1914 and attached to 12th (Eastern) Division. It converted into a Pioneer Battalion and landed in France on 30 May, the third of the New Army formations to do so.

For the duration of the war the 12th Division served on the Western Front. It took part in the Battle of Loos in from 29 September, during which 117 officers and 3237 men were killed or wounded. In 1916 it was involved in the Battles of Albert and of Pozieres, both phases of the Battle of the Somme, before a five-day March to the Arras Front where it relieved the 11th (Northern) Division in August. However it returned to heavy fighting on the Somme the following month and by late October had suffered nearly 11000 casualties in just forty three days of fighting.

In 1917 the Division was again in Arras an dmoved to the front of the sector for the for forethcoming Arras Offensive. It did not leave other than for periods of rest until towards the end of the year, by which time George had died. He will have fought in the Battles of the Scarpe which marked the first phases of the Arras Offensive

Between 17 May and 19 October 1917, the Division held positions east of Monchy le Preux before being engaged in the Cambrai Offensive. In the early morning of 30 November the division came under heavy shellfire and the German infantry attacked in considerable numbers. Initially the Division had to retreat across the ground it had recently won, but then it held the line and the German advance was by an large fought off. However losses were heavy with some units losing half their soldiers in the counter attack. The Division was relieved on 3-4 December, and excepting its artillery moved to Aire.

George died of wounds on 9 December 1917 at the Casualty Clearing Station in the village of Tincourt. He was thirty one years old and was presumably one of those injured in the late action. Francis Omar Tilley of the 1st Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment, also took part in the Battle of Cambrai and died five days later.

George is buried in the New British Cemetery at Tincourt, about 7 kilometres east of Peronne. He was survived by his wife Catherine, who does not appear to have remarried and died in 1936.