George Ibbotson Laister

lincolnshire regimental badgePrivate 15738 1st Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, died of wounds, 24th February 1916, aged 18

Born in London (his birth was registered at Islington, Middlesex although it is stated as Surrey in the 1901 census) in 1897, George was the oldest of the five children of Louis and Elizabeth Empson Laister (nee Canty). His father was from Garthorpe and his mother from Whitgift and in 1898 they returned to Garthorpe where in 1901 his father was in business as a cycle agent. In 1911 he had become the Assistant Parish Overseer and Tax Collector.

George enlisted in the Lincolnshire Regiment at Epworth in March 1915. Completing his training he was posted to France on 6th July 1915 as a reinforcement for the 1st Lincolnshire Regiment who had been there since arriving with the early drafts of the BEF in August 1914.

In February 1916 the 1st Lincoln’s in 62nd Brigade, 21st Division,  were manning the trenches around Armentieres, near the French/Belgian border. The area was relatively quiet but still subject to the ‘normal’ routine of sniping and random artillery fire. The Battalion War Diary notes that one other rank was wounded by shellfire on 15th February and two more during a retaliatory exchange on 16th February. A heavier bombardment injured four men on 18th February. Alongside the routine of manning the trenches the battalion also had to provide men to assist with working parties, repairing trenches, laying out wire in front of them etc, and one of these parties was attacked on 21st February, one man being killed and two others wounded.

It seems George Laister was one of the unlucky men wounded in one of these attacks. Taken to a Casualty Clearing Station in Bailleul, George died there of his wounds on 24th February 1916. He is buried in Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension.

A memorial service was held for George in Garthorpe Primitive Methodist Chapel in March 1916. He is also commemorated on West Butterwick War Memorial.