Private George Donaldson:

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Private George Donaldson c.1916

George Donaldson was born in Nottinghamshire on 14th June 1896 and was the son of James and Emily Donaldson (formerly Wilcockson).

At the time his father was a coal miner but the family later moved to Heath Hayes, where they ran the Talbot Arms Inn on Hednesford Road. (The family also had power boats on Norton Pool, now known as Chasewater).

After leaving school George worked as a pony driver in a colliery but he later moved to Wolverhampton, where he found work as an apprentice baker.

George enlisted with the R.A.S.C (Royal Army Service Corps) on 11 December 1915. He was based at Le Havre (at the time the main port in Normandy).

Family members have talked about him suffering from ‘Spanish Flu’ during this time, due to living off stolen chickens which were unsuitable for human consumption.

He was sent to a military hospital in Worksop and later returned to his family home at the Talbot Arms Inn, Heath Hayes to convalesce. George went on to receive the British War Medal and Victory Medal.

After the war George went into business with another man – his business partner later ran away with all the takings and George never saw him again.

George later worked at the Coppice (Fair Lady) colliery in Heath Hayes and in 1935 he married Mary Stevens at St. Johns Church, Heath Hayes. The couple later moved to the Birmingham area. George died in 1963.

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