George Gordon Favell

14100 Private George Favell, 2nd Battalion Suffolk Regiment died on Thursday 10th May 1917 aged 19 years. George was the son of William and Sarah Jane Favell, of Hemingford Grey, St Ives in Huntingdonshire.  He was baptised George Gordon Favell at St James church Hemingford Grey in 1897 and his death is commemorated in the same church.  A brass plaque inside the church is inscribed with 16 names “In memory of the Hemingford Grey men who died in the Great War.

The photograph on the right is the only one I have been able to find of George.  He is pictured to the right of his Father William.  His mother Sarah is seated with youngest brother Sidney on her knee.  Elder brother Frederick and younger brother Harry are to the left.  Sister Fanny is on the right with sister Lottie in front of him.  I would estimate that the photograph was taken around 1909 with George around 11 years old.  His father William was a Labourer Roadman for Huntingdon County Council.

George Gordon Favell parents and siblings
George Gordon's Plaque

His official memorial is the inscription of his name in bay 4 of the Arras Memorial, Pas de Calais, France, along with the names of almost 35,000 other casualties who have no known grave. The 2nd Battalion of the Suffolk regiment was a regular battalion, rather than one raised for the duration of the war by volunteers or conscription. . The 2nd Battalion had been in France since August 1914 and had suffered heavy casualties in the initial fighting. On 22nd November 1915 it was assigned the 76th Brigade of the 3rd Division.

George’s entry in the ‘National Roll of the Great War’ has incorrect information regarding his date of death, not only getting the date wrong, but also the year. However it tells that “A month after the outbreak of war he volunteered, and, after training at Colchester, was drafted to France in the following year. Whilst serving on the Western Front he saw heavy fighting, chiefly in the Loos and Ypres sectors, and was unhappily killed in action at Ypres on May 19th, 1916. He was entitled to the 1914-15 Star, and the General Service and Victory medals – His Life for His Country”. The fact that he is commemorated at Arras also makes it unlikely that he was actually killed at Ypres. There is also no mention of his temporary return home with ‘shell shock’. The local newspaper carried the following report of George’s death: –


                                                                      SORROW AT HEMINGFORD
PTE GEORGE FAVELL, son of Mrs. Wm. Favell, of Hemingford Grey, has met a soldier’s death on the field of war. He joined the Suffolks at the start of hostilities when he was only 16½ years of age. He was invalided home about a year ago with shell shock and loss of speech from which he recovered in three or four months, and was again sent out. The sad news came on Saturday last from the War Office that he was killed on the 10th May. The sympathy of everyone who knew him is with his mother (a widow) and family. A memorial service was held on Tuesday evening the Church being nearly full. Afterwards a dumb peal was rung by ringers from both villages.
[Hunts Post, 1st June, 1917]