Sergeant George Cheal - MSM

Date of Birth December 1879
Age at Death 39
Date of Death 27/2/1919
Service Number 98131
Military Service 7th Pontoon Park Royal Engineers
Merton Address 16 Gilbert Road, Wimbledon
Local Memorial Wimbledon Cemetery

Additional Information

George Cheal was born in December 1879 and was the second child for parents George and Sarah (nee Blackman). The family lived in Littlehampton and George’s father worked as a Groom.

Another sibling named Daniel was born in 1885 and that same year his sister Kate died aged just eight. In 1889 when George (jnr) was aged nine, he had a new sister called Emily but tragedy struck once again with the death of his father.

By 1891 George now aged 11 was living at 4 Central Gardens in Littlehampton with his widowed mother who worked as a Charwoman, siblings Daniel and Emily and his grandmother Anne Blackman. Later that year his sister Emily died aged two.

George remained living in Littlehampton until his marriage to Bessie Burch on 12th October 1899. The couple then appear to have moved to the South Wimbledon area where their first child Lillian was born and baptised several months later. George worked as a Carpenter /Joiner and the family lived at 32 Latimer Road, in Wimbledon. A second child named Ellen was born in 1901.

By 1904 George’s mother Sarah who was still living in Central Gardens, Littlehampton remarried and moved to 7 River Road, Littlehampton with her new husband Richard Charles Stedman. George meanwhile had moved to 5 Balfour Road, Wimbledon in 1904, then in June 1910 moved to 16 Gilbert Road, Wimbledon a house with five rooms. By this time George and Bessie had seven children: Lillian, Ellen, Winifred, George, twins Daisy and Ivy and Frederick. George was now working as a joiner for the Borough Council. He fathered another two children: Bennett in 1913 and Margaret in 1916.

When war broke out George was aged 34. He enlisted in Wimbledon on 10th May 1915 for the Royal Engineers, as a Sapper. The royal Engineers kept the armies supplied by maintaining, Railways, Roads, Water supply, bridges and operating Rail and inland Waterways transport. It is believed that George worked on building Pontoon Bridges. He was promoted 2nd corporal 11th May 1916 and appointed Sergeant on 5 September 1916. During his service with the Royal Engineers he was award with a Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) for his work on a Pontoon Bridge in France.

Once the war had ended, George continued with the Royal Engineers. When he became unwell the following year he was admitted to the Grove Military Hospital in Tooting on 18th February 1919. He died on 27th February 1919 from influenza and Broncho pneumonia and was buried at Wimbledon (Gap Road) cemetery.

George’s widow Bessie remained living in the Merton area at 48 The Green, Morden until her death at St. Helier Hospital on 26th April 1947.


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