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George William Stayman (1885-1916)

Sunderland man served with Canadian Army remembered on the Menin Gate

George William Stayman was born in Monkwearmouth in 1885. His parents, James, a stationery engineman, and Elizabeth were both from Yorkshire and had married in 1874 in Leyburn. He had eight living siblings; Margaret was born in Yorkshire, Betty in Newcastle, Jane and Florence like himself in Sunderland, Robert, James and Nellie in Brasside and Elizabeth, the youngest, in Sunderland. The family moved to Brasside just outside Durham City in the late 1880s where father James worked at the brickyard. By 1901 they had returned to Sunderland and were living in Southwick where George worked as an apprentice joiner. Ten years later George was a boarder in Fanny Lloyd’s lodging house in Burnley, Lancashire where he was living in the house with two professional football players.

At some time over the next three years George arrived in Canada. In September 1914 he enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) at Valcartier, Quebec, although his attestation form was not signed by a magistrate until he arrived back in England. He became Private 23217 of the 12th Battalion based at Sling Plantation on Salisbury Plain. February 1915 saw George transferred to Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) and left Southampton for France to join his new unit in Westoutre, Belgium on 22.

Wounded in the fighting around Ypres on 7 May Private Stayman was treated in hospital at Wimereux and Havre and didn’t rejoin the PPCLI in France until mid-June. Private 23217 was punished in September for being outside the billeting areas without a pass, in October for refusing to obey a command from an non-commissioned officer and in November for being absent without leave, for which he also forfeited some of his pay. Despite these aberrations, in April 1916, he became Lance Corporal Stayman, albeit unpaid.

The weekend of 2-4 June 1916 saw PPCLI in trenches at Sanctuary Wood outside Ypres, under an intense bombardment from the enemy and the casualties were heavy. One of those missing in action during that period was Lance Corporal Stayman. His body was reportedly buried on the battlefield at China Wall, at the junction of the Zillebeke/Menin Road, but there was no trace of a body after the war.

George William Stayman is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, on the war memorial at Heworth, Gateshead and in the Book of Remembrance at Holy Trinity Church, Sunderland.

Civil Parish: Southwick

Birth date: 15-Mar-1885

Death date: 02-Jun-1916

Armed force/civilian: Army

Residence: Monkwearmouth, Sunderland (birthplace)
Brasside Brickyard Cottages, Durham (1891 census)
27 Florence Crescent, Southwick, Sunderland (1901 census)
19 Admiral Street, Burnley, Lancashire (1911 census)

Employment: joiner (1901 census)

Family: Parents: James Stayman, Elizabeth Stayman nee Crabb
Siblings: Margaret Stayman, Betty Stayman, Jane Ann Stayman, Florence Stayman, Robert Musgrave Stayman, James Stayman, Nelie Stayman, Elizabeth Stayman

Military service:

Lance Corporal

Medal(s): Long Service Medal (CWGC)
Good Conduct Medal (CWGC)
1914-15 Star
British War Medal
Victory Medal

Gender: Male

Contributed by Jean Longstaff, Durham

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