George Thomas Still, RE

Year of Disappearances p167 missing 2 Nov 1920 from Cork. The records show clearly that he deserted and was never heard from again by his wife. There is no evidence to show one way or the other whether he was captured and killed by the IRA . or whether he just faded back into civilian life

1891 Apr/Jun Born Westminster. George Thomas Still was named after his Grandfather. In the 1891 census he is in St Luke’s Hospital, London with his mother Alice Maud Still (nee Wagstaff),. His father Robert Findlater Still was awaiting the arrival home of his wife of one year and their first child at Herrick St, Islington. Two sisters followed, but between Dec 1898 (birth of youngest child Maggie) and 1901 (census) the family returned to Robert’s native North East Scotland (Alice was from Herefordshire).

His mother Alice died on 7th Sept 1908 of a cerebral haemorrhage. Robert appears to have committed suicide on 8th June 1914, apparently suffering from bad health, George was the witness on the death certificate.

1891 census. Under 1 month in the census at Lying In Hospital, City Road, St Luke, London

1901 census

1909 Mar 22. Joined Gordon Highlanders as a Territorial. Enlisted 1/4th Battalion, the Gordon Highlanders (TF) at Aberdeen. Regimental No. 443. He was 17yrs 11 months, an apprentice shoemaker with Lewes Morrison & Son with 2 months left before qualifying. He lived with his parents (question mark, as his mother died in 1908) at 40 Short Loanings, Aberdeen.

He was in the Territorial Force 4th Gordon Highlanders and at 'home' from 1909 until 1915. He completed training in Machine Gun (Broughty Ferry) 31.03 - 12.04.1913.He was a Rifleman (Gordon Highlanders) 22.03.09 - 14.09.14 and a Shoemaker (Gordon Highlanders) 14.09.14 - 07.02.19 He attended Camp each year, he had originally signed up for 4 years service. He signed up for another year in 1913 and in 1914 was appointed Lance Corporal

1911 census living at 10 Stone Sq, Aberdeen. He is living with his family and is a "shoemakers benchman". This fits with the shoemending kit that was missing from his kit when he deserted.

1911 Sep 7. Marries Rose Ellen Bolter in Aberdeen. They had a daughter, Charlotte Rose, on 03.09.12

1912 Sep 3. A daughter Charlotte Rose born. This was the only child of the marriage

1913 Mar 22. Re-engaged in TA unit and appointed Lance Corporal

1913 Mar 31. Machine Gun Course Passed 1st Class Pass at Broughty Ferry 31 March to 12 April 1913

1913 Jun 7. Re engaged for 4 years 7

1914 Aug 5. Embodied. Called up to serve. His father is given as Robert Steel Regimental employment Shoe maker (Civilian Trade was a Shoe Maker). Up to his embodiment his trade was classed as Rifleman. Granted Professional Pay Class II @ 3d as Shoe Maker 5 Aug 1914  

As a Shoe maker George Still would be part of the HQ Company.
GHQ letter OB/1919 dated 2 Feb 1917 lays down a revised breakdown for an infantry battalion, including the following:
Battalion HQ
Fighting portion:
CO, second-in-command, adjutant, Lewis gun officer, signaling officer, bombing officer.
RSM, orderly room clerk, 2 gas orderlies, 13 signalers, 4 stretcher bearers, 9 runners, 11 pioneers, 2 cooks, 6 batmen.
Total 55 all ranks.
Administrative portion:
Asst adjutant, quartermaster, transport officer.
RQMS, CQMS, 9 storemen, 45 transport and grooms, 3 shoemakers, 3 tailors, 2 butchers, postman, 2 cooks, 3 batmen.
Total 73 all ranks.

He was 493/4 and later 200029 with the Gordon Highlanders, 1/4th Battalion.

1914 Sep 14. Deprived of Lance Stripe

1915 Feb 19. Posted to France and was there till 1919

1915 Mar 19. He was awarded a pay rise for 'professional occupation'

1915 Dec 4. He wrote a will, leaving everything to his wife.

1916 Apr 8. Promoted Acting Corporal (vice 2753 Morrison, wounded)

Seaforth cobblers on the Somme in 1916

1916 May 23. On leave. Returns from leave 7 June 1916

1916 Jul 1. Granted Professional Pay Class 1 as Shoe Maker

1916 Jul 3. Severely reprimanded (Insolence to a Senior NCO)

1916 Sep 26. Severely reprimanded for not complying with an order, failing to collect boots for repair

1916 Oct 31. Confirmed in rank of Corporal

1917 Jun 14. Forfeits 1 days pay: (Absent off pass from 8.30pm 12 June until 6am 13 June)

1917 Dec 18. Admitted 2/1st Highland Field Ambulance (tonsillitis). Rejoined 1/4th Battalion, the Gordon Highlanders 3 Jan 1918

1918 Mar 10. On leave to the UK. Rejoined 1/4th Battalion, the Gordon Highlanders in France 24 March 1918

1919 Feb 13. Returns to UK.

1919 Mar 17. Disembodied. When discharged he was described as a 'smart, clean, reliable soldier with 1st class Musketry'. He was demobilised in Kinross.

1920 Jan 20. Enlists in RE. Re enlisted under Army Order 413 of 1919. Interestingly his Service Record is available . He stated that he was not married and gave no next of kin. 624214 Sapper George Thomas Still. Army Trade Shoe maker. Posted to 1st Training Battalion. ‘E’ Company, Signal Service Training Centre, Maresfield Park Camp, Royal Engineers

1920 Feb 15. He is under arrest in Marlfield Camp, Sussex for leaving his wife and child without support. He writes to his wife saying he will support her, but will not return home to the "dogs life" that he had to lead at home before.

1920 Mar 11. Completed Riding Course

1920 Apr 20, Date of last recorded returning from Leave. Perhaps so sort things out with his wife in Aberdeen.

1920 Apr 22. 2 days Confined to Barracks for being absent for 24 hours at Maresfield Park Camp

1920 May 25. Posted to the 33rd Fortress Company, Royal Engineers at Cork

1920 Jul 24. Still signs the Army Form making an allowance to his wife.

1920 Aug 18. Award "Territorial Efficiency Medal". The Territorial Force War Medal 1914-1919 was awarded to members of the Territorial Force only.It is basically a long service Territorial award, in which war service counted double.

1920 Sep 13. The Army Paymaster's office wrote to his wife asking to see the marriage and birth certificates. Also the Army Paymaster's office wrote to his regiment asking them to interview him because he stated he was not married when he re enlisted but his payroll details included an allotment for 'wife & child'.

1920 Oct 27. 3 days Confined to Barracks for being absent until ordered to return to the Barracks by Military Police in Cork and being improperly dressed.

1920 Nov 2. Deserted. He was due to be transferred to the Royal Corps of Signals with regimental no. 2309896. Absent from Roll Call at Victoria Barracks Cork . Deserted with his tools of trade as a ‘Shoe Maker’ which might indicate he was aiming for a new life rather than ending his life or joining the IRA. He was first declared 'Absent Without Leave' on 02.11.20 then 'Deserted' on 26.11.20

In "When youth was mine - Jeremiah Murphy" there is an odd tale of receiving the order to arrest a prowler in his locality who had made a specialty of bothering women, during the summer of 1920 (dates tend to be a bit loose in these sorts of autobiographies). He gave his name as Tom Malone, admitted he was once a British soldier, while being vague about his present profession. They kept him under surveillance on suspicion of being a spy. Malone claimed to be a shoemaker by trade and this was proved when the IRA gave him some tools and a few pairs of shoe, His repairs were very neat and of a very high quality of workmanship. However Malone tried to escape once and after that they blindfolded him whenever they moved him so that he would not know where he was. He apparently spoke with the "finest English" they had ever heard and was well educated. However he was moved away to another IRA area and the author heard that Malone had either escaped or had been shot as a spy, he never knew for sure. There is nothing to tie Malone to Still, and we never know what happened to Malone in this tale.

1920 Nov 29. A court martial was held in his absence found him guilty of the loss of clothing

1921 Jan 13. Aberdeen Police report says that his wife has not heard from him since last May, and that her separation allowance stopped in November. His wife Rose Ellen died in 1977 aged 81 and was still using the surname Still. The only child, Charlotte died in 1940 and her father is recorded as deceased on her death cert.

1922 Jun 19. Assistant Provost Marshall at Arbour Hill, Dublin requests status on him from 33rd Fortress Company.

1934 Mar 8. Mrs Still appears to have instructed a solicitor to sort out her position. I would assume she wants to re-marry. He would be covered by Presumption of Death (Scotland) Act 1891. I do not think his wife could get a divorce until the The Divorce (Scotland) Act 1938., see section 'c' of the 1891 Act.

British soldiers died in Ireland