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George Arthur CHAMBERS

George Arthur Chambers was the eighth of ten children born to John Chambers and Paulina Green. He was born in 1886 in Barnsley, Yorkshire, and appears there on the 1891 Census with his parents, four brothers (John Thomas born in 1871, Joseph in 1873, Charles in 1878, all in Attercliffe; and Albert, born 1888 in Barnsley) and four sisters (Annie born in 1875, Beatrice born in 1877, both in Attercliffe, Yorkshire; Paulina Maud born 1881 and Ada born 1884, both in Worksop, Nottinghamshire). John and his two eldest sons were Coal Miners.

Ten years later, John and Paulina were still in Barnsley; – John was still a miner. John Thomas, Joseph, Annie and Beatrice had all left home, and Charles, Paulina Maud, Ada, George and Albert had been joined by Mary Ethel, John and Paulina’’s youngest daughter (born in 1892 in Barnsley), and Ernest, who was listed as Grandson of John and Paulina. I ordered his birth certificate, and found that he was the illegitimate son of Beatrice. It is believed that he was the product of an incestuous affair between Joseph and Beatrice.

John Thomas married Mary Ann Hunter in 1893 – by 1901 they had three daughters: Eva Mary, Elizabeth Annie and Ethel May; Joseph married Isabella Staniforth in 1899 in Sheffield, Yorkshire – baby Phyllis was born just before the 1901 census; Annie married Albert Penty in 1899 in Barnsley; and Beatrice married Benjamin Townsend in 1898 in Barnsley – their son Joel was born the following year.

The 1911 Census for John Chambers Sr. threw up something of a mystery: he is listed, with Ada, George, Albert, Mary and Ernest… but where is Paulina? I checked the census returns for the older children, and found her visiting Benjamin and Beatrice – who by now had had 3 daughters in addition to Joel: Paulina (born in 1901), Elsie (born in 1904) and Tizzy/Lizzie (born in 1909). Also with the Townsends was Beatrice’s widowed sister, Paulina Maud. She had married Frederick Smith Hague in 1904 in Barnsley, but just six years later he was dead.

John Thomas and Mary had a 5 year old son, also named John Thomas; by 1911 – Eva had left home and was working as a live in maid in Barnsley.

Joseph and Isabella had moved to Fernie, in the Kootenay region of British Columbia, Canada, with Phyllis, and they had another 2 daughters by 1911, both Canadian-born -– 5 year old Doris and 3 year old Gladys. Annie and Albert were still living in Hoyland. Charles married Ada Maude in 1907 in Halifax; by 1911 they were living in Birdwell, Barnsley. George married Maud Burgin in 1913 and they had six children, one of whom was my paternal grandfather, Horace Chambers.

So far, I have only found military records for Joseph and Albert. Joseph served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in WW1, and Albert fought as part of the Royal Army Medical Corps. I believe Joseph made it safely through, but alas the same cannot be said of Albert. He was gassed only 8 months before the end of the War, and is buried in a war cemetery at Étaples, about 65km south-west of Calais on the northern French coast.

Albert’’s service record gives address details for all his siblings -– both his parents were dead, and Ada was his Next of Kin as of October 1919: John Thomas lived at Hill Street, Elsecar; Joseph was in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada; Charles lived on Sheffield Road, Birdwell; George lived at High Street, Hoyland; Annie lived on Broad Street, Hoyland; Beatrice was living at 1 Wilton Lane, Holmes, Rotherham; Paulina had married a Joseph Laycock in 1916 in Rotherham and was living at 5 Florence Road, Masborough, Rotherham. Ada’s address was given as ‘The Infirmary, Strood, Rochester, Kent’, and Mary Ethel’s home address was given as 3 Broad Street, Hoyland. Mary Ethel, known as Meth, married a William Lodge in 1916 in Barnsley and they had a son, Albert, in 1918, who was also born in Barnsley.