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TOW LAW

Stobart, G.H., Col., CBE, DSO, ADC, DL, JP 1943

Photo : Turnbull and Sons

Headstone

Medal Index Card front

Medal Index Card back

In St. Philip & St.James churchyard is a family headstone 12 April 1948 which reads:

Colonel George Herbert Stobart
of Harperley Park
Royal Artillery
Durham Light Infantry
Born 18th February 1873 died 25th May 1943
and Mary Alexandra his wife
died 1st February 1959

George Herbert [Bertie], Stobart was born on the 18th February 1873, baptised 26th March 1873, the eldest son of eleven children to William Culley Stobart, [born 22nd July 1837, died 17th November 1899], and his second wife Frances Dorothea Wilkinson, [born 17th November 1851, baptised 17th December 1851, died 12th April 1948], daughter of Reverend George Pearson Wilkinson, [died 21st August 1890]. They were married on the 18th April 1872 at St. Bartholomew's Church, Thornley.

William had previously married Frances Charlotte Ryder in 1863, who died in 1868. She had four children all born at Etherley, William Ryder born 10th July 1864, died 29th September 1938, Henry John, born 22nd October and died 5th December 1865, Averil Culley born 14th January 1867, died 10th September 1942 and Frances Geraldine born 1st February 1868 died 24th May 1950.

In 1881 William and Frances were residing at Spellow Hill, near Knaresbrough, when William died in 1899, Frances moved to reside at Black Hall, Fir Tree, Co Durham with 4 daughters and 2 sons including John Geoffrey Stobart the youngest who was attending Aysgarth School for his education. By 1911, she was residing at Harperley Park with Evelyn, Dorothy, John Geoffrey and George Herbert Stobart and his wife Frances. Now a retired Officer Major in the Royal Artillery.

The other children were Helena Mary born 3rd April 1874, died 1959, Adela, born 3rd September 1875, died 1961, Henry Francis, born 2nd September 1876 died 1959. Evelyn 'Evie' Elizabeth, born 5th January 1878, Edward, born 24th October 1879, died 1962, Dorothea Margaret, born 6th January 1882, died January 1968, Kenneth, born 2nd January 1884, died 15th June 1905, Mary Vernon born 31st January 1888, died 1978, Ralph Forester, born 2nd September 1889, died 12th March 1917 and John Geoffrey Stobart born 28th January 1892, died 15th March 1915.
They resided at Harperley Park and Clayton Manor, Hassocks, Sussex.

The Stobart family was an influential county Durham family with coal and railway interests, developed throughout the district from the 1830’s to the 1930’s. Henry Stobart [1795-1866] J.P. was Honorary Colonel of the Durham Militia Artillery. He served in the American War 1813-15. Henry formed the company, Stobart & Co. Ltd. which was passed down to his son Henry Smith Stobart [1826-1880] and upon his death, another son William Culley Stobart [1837-1899]. Upon his death William Ryder Stobart [1864 – 1938] took over the management of the company. He was the half-brother of George Henry and John Geoffrey Stobart.

The family were patrons of St. Cuthbert’s Church, Etherley and many family members are buried in the churchyard. They owned substantial properties in Etherley such as Etherley House and Red House and others in the locality such as Witton Towers at Witton-le-Wear and Harperley Hall near Fir Tree.

George Herbert Stobart, 'Bertie' was educated at Harrow School from 1887, {Small Houses and Mr Stodgen's}, leaving in 1890, then at the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich in Kent from 1891. [His brother Edward also was at Harrow from 1894]. He was a gentleman cadet from the 19th March 1891 in the Royal Artillery. George was commissioned age 21, on the 16th March 1894 as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery, then a Lieutenant on the 16th March 1897, and then Captain on the 17th September 1900, then fought in the Boer War with the 34th Battery Royal Field Artillery where he was slightly wounded by a shell splinter at the battle of Reitfontein. He was present at the defence of Ladysmith. QSA Medal and Clasp.

George married Mary Alexandra Kinnear, [born 14th August 1874, Burton Pidsea, Yorkshire, died 1st February 1959, at Cleugh Brae, Jesmond Park East, Newcastle upon Tyne], daughter of the Reverend Henry Gott Kinnear, on the 26th June 1900.

They had three children George Kinnear Stobart born 30th April 1901, died 19th December 1984, Christine 'Dilly' Mary Stobart, born 30th December 1903, died 20th April 1990 and Phillippa Stobart born 15th October 1910, died 18th March 2005.

Promoted to a Major in the Royal Artillery on the 15th January 1911. He retired from the Army on the 8th February 1911 but held seniority from the 15th January 1911. George was also a Justice of the Peace for County Durham from 1912. In WW1, George went to France on the 16th August 1914, he was mentioned in despatches. On the 23rd June 1915 he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross D.S.O., 2nd October 1914 he is gazetted to be Assistant Adjutant-General. On the 13th August 1916 he was appointed a Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel in the War Office, as an Assistant Adjutant-General of Graves Registration and Enquiries (Forerunner of the Imperial War Graves Commission, now the CWGC.)

Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel from the 1st January 1918. Appointed a Commander, Order of the British Empire (C.B.E.) in 1919, he reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1920 with the 6th Battalion Durham Light Infantry. Between 1920 and 1932 he resided at Harperley Park in County Durham. George became Deputy Lieutenant D.L. of County Durham in 1924.

George became Colonel of the 151st (Durham) Light Infantry Brigade from 1925 to 1929. Aide-de-Camp to HM George V in 1930. Finally he became Honorary Colonel in the 6th Battalion Durham Light Infantry from the 14th April 1926. From 1933 he resided with his family at Helme Park, County Durham.

In 1939 George and his wife Mary Alexandra was residing at Helme Park Hall, with his son Lieutenant-Colonel George Kinnear Stobart. (He was educated at Wellington College, Wellington, Berkshire, England and then at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, Berkshire.) He resided in 1932 at Harperley Park, County Durham, England. George gained the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the Durham Light Infantry. He held the office of Justice of the Peace (J.P.) for County Durham. George lived in 1952 at Helme Park, Tow Law, Bishop Auckland, County Durham], and his wife Ailsa Stobart born 22nd December 1901. They were married on the 22nd September 1932. They had two children George Alastair Stobart born 29th October 1935 and Emily Stobart born 24th September 1949.

George Herbert Stobart was also the Commandant of Harperley P.O.W. Camp until his death.

If you know more about this person, please send the details to janet@newmp.org.uk