Person    | Male  Born 9/5/1897  Died 21/1/1936

G. T. Challice

Categories: Armed Forces

War served, WW1 i

Commemorated on a memorial as having served in, and survived, WW1.

G. T. Challice

R. Navy. Fought but did not die in WW1.

Andrew Behan has kindly provided this research: George Thomas Challice was born on 9 May 1897 in Ballingdon, Sudbury, Suffolk. He was the eldest of the seven children of George William Challice (1873-1954) and Elizabeth Maria Challice née Sowman (1878-1963). His father was a Borough Council's General Labourer.

The 1901 census shows him living at 31 Ballingdon Street, Ballingdon, with his parents, his sister Dorothy Ellen Challice (1898-1985) and brother Thomas William Challice (1900-1901). The 1911 census states that he was living at 2 Lutten Terrace, Flask Walk, Hampstead, with his parents, his sister Dorothy Ellen Challice, his brothers William James Challice (1903-1968), Thomas Edward Challice (1906-1990) his sisters Ivy Elizabeth Challice (1908-1978) and Minnie Florence Challice (1910-1923). His occupation was listed as a School House Boy.

On 14 January 1913, aged 15 years, he joined the Royal Navy as a Boy II at HMS Impregnable, a shore-based training establishment at Devonport, Plymouth, Devon, giving his occupation as an errand boy. He was rated as a Boy I on 16 August 1913 and the following day he was posted to HMS Endymion, a cruiser that formed part of the Medway fleet reserve. From 19 December 1913 to 26 January 1914 he was in HMS Pembroke 1, the shore barracks at Chatham, Kent and from 27 January 1914 to 29 July 1914 he was aboard HMS Falmouth, a light cruiser that was attached to part of the fleet reserve.

From 30 July 1914 to 9 September 1914 he served on HMS Arun, a destroyer harboured in Chatham, Kent. From 10 September 1914 to 18 May 1916 he was attached to HMS Albion, a pre-dreadnought battleship, a vessel that supported operations in German South West Africa, the Dardanelles and Salonika before going to Ireland to serve as a guard ship in April 1916. Whilst aboard this ship he was rated on his eighteenth birthday, 9 May 1915, as an Ordinary Seaman and would have agreed to serve for twelve years in the Royal Navy. He was promoted to Able Seaman on 4 November 1915. From 19 May 1916 to 15 June 1916 he was back at HMS Pembroke 1, before going aboard HMS Marshal Ney, a monitor warship, on which he served from 16 June 1916 to 5 August 1916.

He returned to HMS Pembroke 1 on 6 August 1916 until 25 October 1916 and from 26 October 1916 to 31 December 1916 he was on HMS Woolwich, a destroyer depot ship at Harwich, Essex. Back to HMS Pembroke 1 from 1 January 1917 to 18 April 1917.

He married Amelia Elizabeth Schuard on 11 March 1917 at Christ Church, 11 Hampstead Square , London, NW3 1AB. He was shown as a Sailor living at 33 New Buildings, Flask Walk, Hampstead and she was recorded as a Book Folder of the same address. His wife was the sister of Frederick Schuard who is shown on the memorial at New Buildings incorrectly as F Shuard. They went on to have two children: Florence Amelia Challice (1917-1991) and George Frederick Challice (1920-2011).

He was then sent to HMS Anzac, a destroyer, from 19 April 1917 until 28 February 1918, the last 14 days of which he spent in the cells for some unknown disciplinary offence and was sent back to HMS Pembroke 1 where on 25 March 1918 he went on the run. He was recovered on 9 April 1918 and returned to Chatham where on 16 April 1918 he was sentenced to 42 days detention. On 26 May 1918 he again went on the run but was recovered on 15 June 1918 and on 17 June 1918 was sentenced to 60 days detention. On 3 August 1918 he was posted to HMS Shannon, an armoured cruiser/converted minelayer, but on 27 January 1919 he went on the run for a third time. He was recovered by the Metropolitan Police on 3 March 1919 who escorted him back to Chatham. A fourth run resulted in the Metropolitan Police escorting him back to Chatham on 15 August 1919 and the Royal Navy dispensed with his services on 3 December 1919. He had earned the 1914-1915 Star, The British War Medal and The Victory Medal but forfeited the award and the usual War Gratuity because of his record.

Electoral registers from 1920 to 1930 show him and his wife at 1 Lutten Terraace, Flask Walk, Hampstead.

He died, aged 38 years, on 21 January 1936 at the Hospital for Epilepsy and Paralysis and Other Diseases of the Nervous System at 4 Maida Vale, London, W9 and was buried on 27 January 1936 in the churchyard of St John-at-Hampstead, Church Row, London, NW3 6UU. Probate records show his home address to have been 31 Ripley Road, Seven Kings, Essex and that administration was granted on 4 April 1936 to his widow. His estate totalled £610-13-1d.

We'd really like to know what turned this proven sailor of 5 years standing into a repeated absconder. It was the middle of WW1 so perhaps it was some form of shell shock.

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G. T. Challice

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