George Curel, the soldier who became a school instructor and rejoined the army when war broke out

George Curel's gravestone, All Saints' churchyard, Witley

Title: George Curel's gravestone, All Saints' churchyard, Witley
Description: Copyright Stephen Mills by-nc

George was born on 7 July 1865 and when he grew up joined the regular army.  In 1885 he married Jessie Maffey (born 1866 in Winchester) and they had three children: Ethel Florence, George Victor and Winifred Gladys.  George served in The King’s Royal Rifles between 1883 and 1904 and became a sergeant master cook and baker.  When he was discharged, he joined King Edward’s School, Witley, where he lived with Jessie and Winifred, as a cook, house officer and musketry instructor. At the outbreak of the Great War he was called up, joining the 6th Battalion, Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment.  The Surrey Advertiser of 5 September 1914 reported he was made a Regimental-Sergeant-Major. The December 1915 Witley All Saints’ Parish Magazine tells us that on 24 October, George arrived in Witley on leave and attended the funeral of William Wisdom at All Saints’ Church on 27 October.  George became ill on 28 October and was sent to the Connaught Hospital, Aldershot, where he died of a cerebral haemorrhage. George was buried in All Saints’ churchyard, Witley on 7 November and given a military funeral with three rifle volleys attended by 100 boys from King Edward’s School.  George’s headstone was not provided by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission but by his family.  Jessie died on 13 March 1937 aged 82, and is buried with George.

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