I never knew that I had a great uncle that served in the first world war. It has only been a short time since I discovered George existed. To me to find out that I had a member of my family in the first world war makes me very proud.
As a tribute to all the that gave their life’s, I am writing and sharing this piece about my uncle. To me it is so very sad that young men left their homes and some of them never returned. George was one of those. He was 24 years old. He died in battle.He never married and he had no children either. In writing his life story I am keeping his spirit alive and that somewhere out there he knows that he didn’t die in vain. That his family know who he is and that we are all very proud of this courageous young man.
So it is with great honour that I introduce, to not only my family, but to the rest of the world Corporal George McCormick.
All About George
George McCormick my great uncle was born on March 20 1892, he was born in Armoy County Antrim Northern Ireland. He was the son of Thomas and Catherine McCormick. George had many brothers and sisters. They were Mary Teresa, Elizabeth, Catherine Jane, John, Alexander (My granddad) and Annie Margaret.
George’s family were Presbyterian. They were religious people and went to church regularly.
In March 1901, they lived in a house in Carrowlaverty in Armoy, County Antrim. George’s dad Thomas was an agricultural Laborer. Both his mother and his sister Mary were Dressmakers. George at the time was 8 years old.
Moving on now to 1911, George now lives in Monanclogh. Armoy, County Antrim. He is 18 years old and a farm servant. He lives here with his mother Catherine. Catherine lost her husband and is now a widower. She is 55 years old and is a housekeeper. Her youngest daughter Maggie Ann lives here she is 14. Also in the house are Mary Teresa’s children.
George Leaves Ireland For Canada
He departs from Liverpool. It states his occupation as a painter. In what sense I am unsure of. Whether he was a general painter or in fact an artist is something that is not clear.
He did not make the Journey alone and traveled with his sister Catherine “Cassie” Morgan (Nee McCormick and her two children.
What he did as a career before signing up to the army is unclear. He did live with his sister in 1914 at 1323 Arlington Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
George signs the Attestation Papers for the Army
We now come to the part where George signs up for the army. Here is a copy of the original documents George completed.
We see here from the description that George had dark hair and blue eyes. He also had a tattoo on his left arm that said “Love” and it had a dagger and heart. There you go, the first McCormick and member of our family to have a tattoo. I like that it says “Love” on it. Shows us that deep within him was a kind and caring man and not afraid to show it.
On 01 Jun 1915 he departed to with 16th Battalion, Canadian Infantry the Manitoba Regiment. Heading for France. By Oct 1915 the same year he was Admitted to hospital with influenza. He made a full recovery and left hospital
It has been documented that he went on a machine gun training course. It was on the 12th Feb 1916 at Wisques, Pas-de-Calais, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France.
Becoming a Coporal
Then came his appointment at the end of Apr 1916. He is now a Lance Corporal. He now moves up the ranks and on the 10 Jul 1916 Acting Corporal and then becomes a Corporal.
By August 1916 George is back in hospital. On the 5th august 1916 in an article in the Winnipeg Tribune it states that Winnipegs hero George is in Hospital.The hospital was in Boulongne; he was suffering from shrapnel wounds to the back. He was Discharged to the rest camp in Sep 1916.
Then the sad news comes. George cannot be found and is reported missing and for official purposes is presumed to have died. This was around 9th October 1916. He stated he was near Courcelette. He had been previously reported wounded and missing.
No Known Grave
George like so many of the soldiers at war died, but did not have a burial, therefore there is no Grave. A memorial in France, called the Canadian Vimy Memorial was built.It is a memorial site in France dedicated to the memory of The Canadian Expeditionary Force members killed during the First World War.
Here you can see Georges name on this memorial war plaque.
I like to think that finding him, has given me the extra strength to move forward with my life. He is a great example of someone who gave up everything and dedicated the remainder of his life to help save the country that I live in, England, but also for his home land Ireland and his other family in Canada.
He may only have had a short life, but he achieved so much. As we see he traveled a lot and went to war on his own. He moved up the ranks, which shows he had great leadership skills and was also well respected. A true gentleman in my eyes.
God bless George and if you are looking down on me as I write this, I hope that I have done you proud. Love Ann xx