Rank:


Private

Service No(s):


38337; 62485; 311407; 423527

Regiment:


Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment); Labour Corps; Royal Engineers

Unit:

A Company, III Corps

Returned:

Yes

Place of birth:

Islington

Occupation:

House decorator

Date of death:

Cause of death:

Grave or panel reference:

Name of father:

Henry Bartholomew Duckett

Name of siblings:

Elizabeth; Ernest; Francis; Alice; Eva

Name(s) of children:

Phyllis Irene

Died:

No

Date of birth:

30/09/1884

Place of enlistment:

Event:

France

Age at death:

Cemetery or memorial:

Other memorial:

Name of mother:

Matilda Duckett (née Collins)

Name of spouse:

Minnie Marsh (née Collins)

Address:

29 Moray Road, Finsbury Park

Biography:

George Philip Duckett was born on 30 September 1884 in Islington, the son of Henry Bartholomew Duckett and Matilda Duckett (née Collins). Henry was a gardener from Waltham St Lawrence, a Berkshire village, and Matilda a gardener’s daughter from the Hertfordshire village of Bennington.

Henry and Matilda had nine children, five of whom – William, Florence, Francis, Ernest and Helena – died in infancy, with Elizabeth, Alice, George and Eva (the second, sixth, seventh and ninth-born) living to reach adulthood. The censuses of 1881, 1891 and 1901 place the family home in streets to the south of New Court Congregational Chapel, successively Fonthill Road, Durham Road and Charteris Road. Elizabeth and Alice were still living at the last of those addresses in 1939.     

The 1901 Census lists Henry as a house painter and George, then 16, as a greengrocer’s assistant, although he later took up the same occupation as his father. Alice worked as a Xylonite collar binder (Xylonite was a trade name for detachable collars made from cellulose nitrate) and Eva had a job as a domestic housemaid. 

In April 1912, George married Minnie Marsh Collins at St Mark’s Church on Tollington Park. Minnie, described by a great-nephew as “a lovely, kind lady”, was the daughter of a scavenger, another name for a dustman or street cleaner. She and George rented two first-floor rooms in Moray Road and their daughter, Phyllis Irene, was born in August 1915 and baptised in St Mark’s that year.

George joined the 37th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers (also known as the City of London Regiment), A Company, III Corps, when it was formed at Falmer at the beginning of June 1916. The next month, the battalion was mobilised and moved to France. 

However, on 31 August, George was recorded as having an undiagnosed pulmonary condition. (From 1915 onwards, poison gas was used by both sides and the protective helmets issued were often inadequate or inconvenient to use.) The next day he was transferred from No 34 Casualty Clearing Station at Vecquemont to a sick convoy and transported to hospital via No 29 Ambulance Train, one of the specially fitted trains used to convey soldiers from casualty clearing stations to base hospitals.

His military record indicates that he served as a Private in the Royal Fusiliers, the Royal Engineers and the Labour Corps, separate service numbers being given for each and two for the Labour Corps. This may be partly explained by the fact that, in April 1917, 37th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers became 107th and 108th Labour Companies of the Labour Corps.

George survived the war and returned to live with Minnie in Wood Green before he died in 1926, aged 41, as a result of aortitis (inflammation of the aorta), which can be caused by infection or rheumatological conditions.

George Philip Duckett
George Philip Duckett
Private George Philip Duckett (Photograph: Kenny Drew)
George Philip Duckett