George’s name is incorrectly spelt as Malpass on the Stockport War Memorial. The correct spelling, with only one “s” appears on all official documents. The family’s entry, however, on the 1901 Census spells it as Malpass but this will have been the enumerator’s interpretation of the name.
His parents, George and Mary Malpas originated from the Stockport area and started their marriage in the town. Their first two children, Lucy and Ann, were born there. The family then moved to Liverpool in about 1883, no doubt in connection with George’s work as an inspector for one of the railway companies. Another three daughters were born in the city before they returned to Stockport in about 1889. The following year, their first son was born and, in the tradition of the day, they named him after his father. A few years later, Alice was born. By then they had moved to 30 Mount Pleasant, Hazel Grove.
In 1910, the future soldier married his fiancée, Alice Shatwell, at St Thomas’ Church, Stockport. They would have three children together – all sons. The family history website, CheshireBMD, suggests that the first son was born in 1910 and, following tradition, was called George Eric. In 1914, two sons were born and were called Jack and James. Jack died very soon afterwards. They lived at 37 Ardenfield Street, Stockport.
George had joined Stockport Police in October 1913 and, when War was declared the following year, he was working as a constable in Heaton Chapel. He was quick to enlist and was assigned to the artillery, going overseas in July 1915.
The trench mortar was a new weapon of War. It did not exist before 1914 but it quickly became extremely useful because of its effects over short range. The heavy mortars used by “V” batteries were often used to cut enemy barbed wire before an infantry attack.
Whilst on active service, George was twice gassed and had to spend a short period away from duty. His officer wrote to Alice to tell her what happened to him. On 24 March, he was one of a party bringing rations up to the trenches from the billets. “He never arrived at the trenches and when word came that the rations had not been received we made enquiries at the ambulance station and found he had been wounded by shellfire and had been picked up by some engineers and taken to the ambulance station.” He died the next day still at the Field Ambulance Dressing Station. The Dressing Station was staffed by army doctors and the fact that he was not evacuated to a field hospital can only mean that the doctors had concluded that his wounds were too severe and there was no hope for him.
After the War, Alice moved to 40 Longsight Lane, Cheadle Hulme.