The GOODMAN family – Company Sergeant Major GOODMAN, George Walter (1884-1918)

George Walter Goodman portrait
George Walter Goodman

George Walter Goodman was born in Leicester on 2nd July 1884 and baptised at St Martin’s on 13th July 1886 along with his new baby sister Lucy Jane who died shortly afterwards.  His parents were Walter Thomas Goodman (1859-1935), a boot riveter foreman, and Jane Ann Stanton (1862-1941), who married at St Martin’s less than four months before his birth.  They had four surviving children: George Walter was the oldest, then three girls Lucy Rhoda (1888-1977), Gertrude “Gertie” (1891-) and Ida Evelyn (1901-1981).  Two other children died in infancy.  All of the children worked in the boot trade, George Walter as a riveter.  In 1886 the Goodmans lived at 13 Great Holme Street, moving to 36 New Park Street by 1892.  In 1901 they moved away, probably to Marstown Avenue, Glen Parva where they lived in 1911.

George served in the Leicestershire Volunteers, Q (Wigston) Company before the war.  In 1906, when he was Lance-Corporal, he scored a respectable 22 in the company shooting competition at Syston shooting range.

In 1911 George Walter Goodman married Grace Eveline Florence Caroline Holland (1885-1953) who was born in Leicester in 1885 and who worked as a shoe machine operator.  The service took place at St Thomas’s church in South Wigston on 10th June 1911.  Grace wore a dress of “Quaker Grey” trimmed with silver embroidery.  Bridesmaids were Winnie, a sister of Grace’s, and George’s sister Gertrude.  The best man was Mr W Buncher, presumably a friend of George’s.  George and Grace then lived together at 79 Kirkdale Road and had two children, Florence Grace (1912-1939) who was baptised at St Thomas’s on 11th August 1912 and Evelyn who was born in the spring of 1918.

When war was declared, George was in demand as a trained soldier.  He joined the 10th (Reserve) Battalion Leicestershire Regiment and in January 1915 the vicar of St Thomas’s, Wigston read out George’s name as one of the Wigston men who were serving at the Front.  The 10th Battalion was redesignated the 53rd Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers in October 1917.  George delivered instruction and prepared soldiers for fighting.  He rose to the rank of Company Sergeant Major.  As the 53rd Battalion remained at Home for the duration of the war, it is unlikely that George saw any further fighting action.  So when he died of pneumonia on 20th Nov 1918 at Clipsham Military Hospital, Nottinghamshire, it was most likely as a result of Spanish Influenza.  He was buried at Wigston Cemetery.

Goodman, G W grave
The grave of George Walter Goodman, Wigston Cemetery

After the war Grace remained living close to her parents.  Between 1924 and 1929 she lived at 59 Clifford Street, South Wigston, moving to another address in 1929.  She died in 1953.  George’s parents continued living in Glen Parva after the war.  Walter died in 1935 and Jane in 1941, while living at Malabar, Blaby Road, Glen Parva.  However, Jane lived for at least the last two years of her life at Carlton Hayes Hospital, which cared for people with mental health problems.

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