George Lovett/Lovatt, L/Cpl 21735, 23rd Battalion, Manchester Regiment
Killed in action 25th July 1916 in the Somme, France, aged 23
George Lovett was born in May 1893 and baptised on 5th July 1893 at St John’s Church, Statham St, Macclesfield, the son of Mary and Charles Lovett, a cotton weaver of 9 Silk St, Macclesfield. By 1901, the family had moved house, and seven-year-old George was living at 62 Elizabeth St, Macclesfield with his parents and older brother Charles (14). The census noted that his father was paralysed (and therefore not working) and his mother worked at home as a dressmaker.
George was educated at Duke Street National School, attaining grade VII, and after leaving in 1907 at the age of 14 he found employment as a warehouse boy and enrolled at Macclesfield Technical School to further his education.
By 1911 the family had moved to number 58 and 60 Elizabeth Street, and George was employed as a silk machinist for a silk blouse making company. His parents were not employed but it appears that George and his 25 year old sister Sarah, a silk embroiderer, were earning enough money to support them. George later found employment as a silk embroiderer at Hewetson’s Albion Mills.
George attended Christ Church and was a member of the Young Men’s Bible Class, the Boy Scouts and the football team.
George must have been a short man: in November 1914 he enlisted in Manchester with the 23rd Manchester Regiment, a ‘Bantams’ Battalion for men between 5 feet and 5 feet 3 inches tall. After training, he was drafted to France in January 1916.During a heavy bombardment on July 25th George was seriously wounded and died of his wounds later that day. His body would have been buried nearby but must have been lost as a result of subsequent fighting.
His death was reported in the Macclesfield Times of 11th August 1916:
L-CPL G LOVATT
Mr Charles Lovatt, 60 Elizabeth St, Macclesfield, has received news that his son, Lance-Corporal George Lovatt, 23rd Service Battalion, Manchester Regt (Bantams) has died of wounds received in action in France.
The following letter has come from Sgt Robert Riley: “I write to offer my sincere condolence on the loss of your son. That he was a loving and good son was evidenced by his personal conduct, which was always clean, upright and generous. … he died bravely and nobly doing his duty at a post which was so difficult that its keeping could only be entrusted to a steadfast and worthy soldier. This post your son held up to the time of his death. He was hit by bursting shrapnel, and at once fell unconscious, in which condition he passed peacefully away without a word. I stayed with him until the end. In our battalion your son’s bright and genial character and Christian example brought him many friends, and most of these have asked me to advise you of their sympathy…
Private J H Fleming, a comrade of the deceased, wrote as follows: “I am very sorry to have to tell you that George was wounded during the bombardment of July 25th and died later on in the night. I can assure you he was thinking of you all the time…”
Another comrade of Private Lovatt sent the following letter: “I was George’s chum and if anything happened he asked me to write to you. We have had a rough time and have lost some men. The other day we had our first charge, and we did fine. For the last few days we have been under a continual bombardment. Yesterday afternoon George was at his post and stuck to his gun when he was asked to seek shelter. Two men were killed at his feet and he himself was seriously wounded. He nobly did his duty. He was my dearest chum and I miss him very much.”
Lance-Corporal Lovatt was educated at the Duke St National School and was 22 years of age. Before enlisting in November 1914, he was in the employ of Councillor A W Hewetson as an embroiderer. The deceased soldier was drafted to France eight months ago. L/Cpl Lovatt formerly attended Christ Church and was a member of the Young Men’s Bible Class. He had also been a member of the [Christ Church] Boy Scouts and the Football Club… His brother, Charles Lovatt, is expecting to go out to France in a fortnight.
His death was also reported in the Macclesfield Courier of 12th August 1916:
LANCE-CORPORAL G LOVETT DIED OF WOUNDS
Mr and Mrs Lovett, of 60 Elizabeth St, have received information that their only (sic) son, Lance-Corporal Geogre Lovett, has died of wounds… It appears that L/Cpl Lovett was on a duty known as the “listening post,” and was seriously wounded… during a very heavy bombardment. He was very highly esteemed… and a letter from Private MacGavaghan… says how sadly he misses the deceased.
L/Cpl Lovett enlisted … as a quick gun-firer in the Lewis Gun Detachment, …. he was drafted out to France in January 1916… Prior to enlisting he was employed at Councillor Hewetson’s Albion Mill as an embroiderer. He was closely connected with Christ Church, being a member of that troop of Boy Scouts, the Football Club, and he is the first lad out of the Bible Class to fall for his King and Country…. The flag is flying at half mast on Christ Church on his behalf.
L/Cpl George Lovett has no known grave and is commemorated on Panel Ref. Pier and Face 13 A and 14 C of the Thiepval Memorial in France. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for L/Cpl George Lovett.
The floral tributes laid when the Macclesfield Park Green War Memorial was unveiled on 21st September 1921 included one with the words “In affectionate remembrance of Lance-Corporal George Lovett, from father, mother, sister and brother.”
GRO (England & Wales) Index: Births
Census (England & Wales): 1901, 1911
Cheshire Parish Baptism Registers: St John’s Church, Macclesfield
National School Admission Registers and Log-books: Macclesfield Technical School
WWI British Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects
WWI British Army Medal Rolls Index Cards
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Macclesfield Times: 11th August 1916
Macclesfield Courier: 12th August 1916
Brother of Charles Robert Lovett, who served as Corporal 74270 with the Sherwood Foresters and survived the war.