Date of birth: 1886
Date of death: 27.11.1917
Regiment: York and Lancaster
Family information: Son of George and Sarah Porthouse of Brandy Carr, Wakefield
Service number: 241503
George’s service record has not survived, however the records on the Ancestry internet site states that he enlisted in Rotherham and lived in Thurnscoe and the record on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site says he is the son of the late Mr and Mrs George Porterhouse of Brandy Carr, Wakefield. I believe the ancestry.co.uk record of his address as Thurnscoe could be correct, as I found his brother Thomas’ service records which gives his address as Thurnscoe and it would be reasonable to assume both brothers were there.
George enlisted as Private 241503 in the 2nd/5th Battalion of the York and Lancaster Regiment which was part of the 62nd (2nd West Riding) Division that took part in the Battle of Cambrai. At 6.20am on 27th November the battalion launched an attack at Bourlon where they tried to penetrate the German held village. They were subjected to heavy machine gun fire and their tanks were unable to get through German barriers. According to the war diary the battalion was ‘unable to break through and after suffering heavy casualties was obliged to take up positions in the Brigade original front line’. George was killed in action on the 27th November 1917 being remembered on the Cambrai Memorial, Louverval, France. He is also on the Carr Gate War Memorial. He was awarded the Victory and British War Medals.
George’s youngest brother, Thomas, enlisted on 21st February 1916 giving his address as 2, Hickleton Terrace, Thurnscoe, East Rotherham. He was 18 years and 8 months and a pony driver presumably in the pit. He was initially put in the reserve but mobilized on 17th August 1916 serving as a Gunner in the Royal Field Artillery as Private 300115 Porthouse. He served in France between 25th June and 16th December 1917 but must have been wounded as he was awarded the Silver War Badge. This was awarded to men who had served abroad but were no longer fit enough to fight. It was worn to prevent the public from accusing them of not doing their bit in the war.
A Peter Porthouse was also awarded the Silver War Badge for service between 22nd March 1915 and 13th June 1918. Given that I can only find one birth recorded for a Peter Porthouse in the likely age range for service in the war, it is probable that this was the third brother. He served with the Yorks and Lancs Regiment as Private 3789 and then transferred to the RAMC as Private 401527.
Born in about 1886, in 1891 George was recorded in the census as living with his parents George snr and Sarah in Workington, Cumbria. He had an older sister Elizabeth who was 9, a younger sister Sarah Ellen aged 3 and a little brother Henry at 2 months. Sadly Henry died in 1897 aged 6 and was buried in East Ardsley churchyard on 24th August.
At some point between the census and 1897 they had come to live in Robin Hood Row on Bradford Road, Wrenthorpe. In the 1901 census George snr was a market gardener and George jnr a 15-year-old rope twiner. There were further additions to the family with Peter who had been born in 1893, Thomas in 1898 and Henry Allan who was 7 months old. Once again tragedy struck and Henry Allan died aged 7 years and was buried on 8th October 1907 at East Ardsley. The family were by then living in “Brandicarr”.
In 1911 and still living in “Brandicarr” his father was a domestic gardener while George and his brother Peter were jobbing gardeners. Sarah Ellen was recorded as a worker in a garden while Thomas aged 13 was a rope worker. Elizabeth had married and left home.