Stevenson, George Emanuel
5th (Royal Irish) Lancers
George Emanuel Stevenson was born at Hammersmith on the 24th of May 1878. His date of birth was taken from Poor Law records. He was the son of Emanuel and Ann nee Sellwood. George was one of at least fifteen children fathered by Emanuel who had been married twice, his first wife dying in her early twenties. Emanuel was employed as a farrier. He was originally from Berkshire and had served two terms of imprisonment for larceny, one in Berkshire for three months and a year's term in Oxfordshire when he had stolen eight pocket knives from his employer. Bans of marriage for Emanuel and Ann were read in 1868 but the couple did not marry until 1874 when he declared himself to be a bachelor.
On the 1881 census the family were living at 6 Camden Street, Kensington, and George’s age was given as two. This was described by Charles Booth as a good working class road and was coloured pink on the poverty map.
Poor Law records show that Emanuel deserted his family in 1887 and both George and a younger sister Ernestine were admitted to Beechholme on the 2nd of September 1887. Another brother, Burt, was admitted at a later date. Ann was living in Princes Street at the time with a married daughter. She was caring for her youngest child by going out charring. Two older girls were also living there and employed in the same manner.
The 1891 census shows the three siblings resident in Beechholme.
George was sent out from the school on the 6th of May 1893 to the 17th Lancers band but was later transferred into the 5th. An annual follow up report dated August 12th 1896 states " Bad report".
There don't appear to be any further follow ups on him.
His service records give his age as fourteen years and eleven months and his occupation given as musician. His army records show that he was educated at the Kensington and Chelsea schools for four years. His height was four feet seven inches and he weighed seventy one pounds. His chest measurement was twenty seven inches. He had a fresh complexion with grey eyes and light brown hair. He had no distinguishing marks. His next of kin was given as an older brother Frederick, whereabouts unknown, and his mother Ann of 78, Princes Street, Notting Hill. George was passed fit for service in the Corps of Lancers of the Line.
The regiment sailed for India on H.M.S. Malabar arriving on the 26th of March 1896.
While in India George suffered several bouts of tonsillitis and ague (a fever), also a dog bite and two incidences of gonorrhoea .
The regiment was then sent to South Africa and landed there on 11th of March 1898.
George suffered further periods of ague, which was put down to the climate and while at Ladysmith he was treated again for gonorrhoea and enteric fever.
George was awarded the Queens South African medal with Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal, Elandslaagte and Defence of Ladysmith clasps, also the Kings South African medal with 1901 and 1902 clasps.
In taking part at Elandslaagte on the 21st of October 1899 the 5th Lancers had the satisfaction of knowing that they took part in the one real cavalry charge of the campaign, because, after all, on the way to Kimberley it was a gallop through a position, not a charge in the old sense. Along with the 19th Hussars and Imperial Light Horse, the regiment were in the action of Rietfontein on the 24th of October. The 5th Lancers seized and held ridges to protect Sir George White’s right flank.
In the battle of Lombard’s Kop or Ladysmith on the 30th of October the 5th Lancers and 19th Hussars were under General French on the right, their objective being to get round the enemy’s left, but the cavalry were pushed back as so strong was the opposing force. Throughout the siege the 5th Lancers frequently had fighting. In his despatch of 23rd of March 1900, Sir George White, speaking of a reconnaissance made on the 8th December 1899 says “ It was carried out in a very bold and dashing manner” They were sent to reinforce Waggon Hill in the great attack of the 6th of January. The miseries of being constantly under shell-fire are apt to be lost sight of, but the fact that on 22nd December one single shell wounded five officers and the Sergeant Major of the 5th Lancers, makes one realise the ever-constant danger and strain during the four months siege. In the northern movement under General Buller the 5th Lancers accompanied the General to Lydenburg and on this march were very frequently engaged and between the middle of July and the end of September were fighting practically every day.
At the beginning of November 1900 about 250 men of the regiment were with Smith-Dorrien, south of Belfast, when he had very hard fighting and no little difficulty in saving his guns.
During the second phase of the war the 5th Lancers were mainly in the Eastern Transvaal operating under Smith-Dorrien, Spens and other commanders. A portion of the regiment was in Cape Colony in 1901 and 1902 and had rather an unhappy time on the Zeekoe River near Aberdeen on 6th April 1901 when they lost 2 killed, 9 wounded and 23 taken prisoner.
Four non-commissioned officers and men of the regiment gained mention in despatches by Lord Kitchener, written during the war, and in the final despatch 2 officers, 2 non-commissioned officers and 2 men were mentioned.
After the Boer War George re-enlisted into the Royal Army Medical Corps on the 13th of June 1905. His age was twenty seven and after six month gymnastic course he had attained the weight of 128 pounds. He was now five feet six inches and his chest now measured thirty seven inches when expanded.
He married Ellen (Nellie) Hammond at Christchurch, Battersea on Christmas Eve 1905 where his occupation on the entry of marriage was given as Bandsman with the Royal Army Medical Corps.
Their son Charles George was born in February 1906 at Battersea.
George had two periods of hospitalization for tonsillitis in a military hospital at Aldershot.
On the 1911 census the family were living in Belle Vue Road in Aldershot and George was described as being an army private. He was aged thirty two and his wife was twenty eight. Their son was five.
They adopted another child called James in 1912 who had been born in West Ham.
On the 12th of June 1913 George was discharged from the army at his own request.
George re-enlisted on the 10th of December 1915 into his previous regiment the Royal Army Medical Corps. He was employed in home service only.
His age was thirty seven years and seven months and his occupation was given as a postman.
His next of kin was his wife and they were living at 2, Cedar Cottage, Frog Lane, Farnborough.
He was demobbed in 1919.
On the 1939 register George and Nellie were living at 20, Holly Road, Farnborough and his occupation was given as a retired postman.
George died on the 7th of August 1963 at Park Prewett hospital in Basingstoke at the age of eighty two. This hospital was the Hampshire County Asylum.
In his will he left £1859 18s to his son Charles who was an engine fitter. His wife had pre-deceased him.