George DEAKIN MC (1896-1943)

George DEAKIN, MC was the son of William Robert DEAKIN and William’s second wife, Mary Jane DEAKIN (née HARTLEY). George was born in Wigan, Lancashire, on 8 August 1896.

George attended New College, Harrogate, Yorkshire, for two years and two terms before moving, aged 13, to Cheltenham Grammar School (now Pate’s Grammar School), on 16 September 1909. George started as a day pupil but later boarded. George became School Captain (autumn term 1914), captain of the football 1st XI and the 1st XV rugby team, held the Vassar-Smith Sports Challenge Cup and also participated in cricket and water polo before leaving school on 4 April 1915.

Photo from The Patesian of 1st XI Cheltenham Grammar School Cricket Team 1914, George third from left in the front row:

George Deakin, cricket team, Cheltenham Grammar School
Back row left to right: L.L.H. Clark, H.W. Pearson, H.A. Bendall, Mr Broad (staff), G.P. Tate, W.J. Harding
Front row: C.M. Caudle, E.A. Barnard, G. Deakin, W.B. Boone (Capt), A.W. Facer, C.J. Price, H.C. Sharpe
© Pate’s Grammar School, Cheltenham

Photo from The Patesian of 1st XV Cheltenham Grammar School Rugby Team 1914-1915, George seated in the middle:

Back row left to right: W.J. Harding, H.S. Woodman, H.W. Gay, H.C. Sharpe, J.A. Gray, G.P. Tate, R. Morley, A.J. Lewis
Middle row: C.J. Price, M.G. Tate, A.W. Facer, G. Deakin (Capt), Mr. E.F. Chaney (staff), F.F. Leach, R.W. Pratt
Front row: W.W. Yiend and H.A. Bendall
© Pate’s Grammar School, Cheltenham 

After leaving school, George joined the army as a voluntary soldier attending the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst before joining the Royal Engineers and fighting in the First World War. He was awarded the Military Cross (MC) in 1917 (gazetted 17 September 1917) for:

Conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when in charge of buried cable communications. He displayed the greatest energy and courage in supervising the work of leading in cables, frequently under heavy shell fire from the enemy’s guns, and in remaining behind after digging parties had been withdrawn owing to hostile fire, in order to conceal all traces of the cable trench from the enemy. His fearless personal reconnaissances and fine example of determination to complete his work on all occasions greatly inspired his men and kept communications open during the operations.

On 24 March 1918, Lieut. George Deakin MC was wounded whilst serving in France. He received a gunshot wound in the left thigh and was transferred to the American Red Cross Hospital, London. George was subsequently awarded Bar to the MC in 1918 (gazetted 16 September 1918) for:

Conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. This officer led two companies into the attack, and through his gallantry and leadership they were able to drive the enemy back, and hold on for the whole day. He continued to do good work until severely wounded on the third day.

George married Edith Victoria Winifred (Winsome) COMBE in Brockhampton, Gloucestershire, on 1 September 1920.

The wedding of George Deakin MC to Edith V.W. Combe, 1920. Seated left: George T. Combe and Emily A. Combe (née Adams). Seated right: Mary J. Deakin (née Hartley and William R. Deakin. Seated on the ground: William R. (Billy) Deakin (aged 5), son of John B. Deakin.

The Echo (Gloucestershire) reported on the wedding, 2 September 1920:

The fully choral service, which included the hymns, “Lead us, Heavenly Father” and “O, Perfect Love”, was conducted by the Rev. J. Storr (vicar) and the Rev. A.H. Vizzard (a former Army chaplain). The bride who was given away by her father, wore a charming gown of soft satin with panels of lace and lace sleeves and pointed train of satin finished off with lace and a spray of orange blossom, myrtle, and heather. Her veil of old Brussels lace was lent by her cousin. She wore a pearl and diamond pendant and carried a bouquet of white roses and heather. She was attended by four bridesmaids, Miss Majorie Combe (cousin), Miss Dorothy Wilkins (cousin), Miss Bessie Deakin (sister of the bridegroom), and Miss Lucy Hyatt, whose dresses were of pale yellow satin embroidered with copper, brown and gold, with veils of yellow tulle finished with wreaths of autumn leaves. Their bouquets were of yellow and copper chrysanthemums with autumn foliage, and the bridegroom presented to each a big cut-glass bottle of scent. Master Billy Deakin (nephew of the bridegroom), in brown velvet suit with yellow satin shirt was the bride’s page and Mr. Stanley Deakin was best man. After the church service the bride’s parents received about 150 guests in Brockhampton Institute, kindly lent by Colonel Fairfax Rhodes. Later in the afternoon, the bride and bridegroom, whose future home with be the Stone House, Whittington, Worcs., left for a honeymoon tour of Cornwall and Paris. They received a large number of handsome presents.

In 1923, George was appointed a director of W.R. Deakin Ltd. George and Winsome were living at Stone House, Whittington, near Worcester, Worcestershire.

George and his younger brother James Stanley Deakin took over the Deakin jam manufacturing business at the end of 1936 and the business traded under the name of G. & J.S. Deakin Limited.

George and Edith had one son, George Anthony Hartley (Tony) DEAKIN, born Pershore, Worcestershire in 1937. It is likely that at that time George and Winsome were living at Pensham Hill just outside Pershore.

In 1938 George was elected as a Member of the Pigs Marketing Board, later becoming their Chairman and Vice President of the National Farmers’ Union.

By 1940, George, Winsome and son George had moved to Caulin Court, Ladywood, Droitwich.

On 9 October 1943, George tragically died at The Cottage Hospital, Tarporley, Cheshire, following a car accident, aged 47. The Deakin Memorial Trust (now The Deakin and Combe Memorial Trust) was set up in George Deakin’s memory to support students studying agriculture. George’s widow, Edith, died in 1985.

George Deakin c1930


William Robert DEAKIN


Samuel Wesley DEAKIN
John Bertram DEAKIN
May Elizabeth DEAKIN
William George DEAKIN MC
Robert Hartley DEAKIN
James Stanley DEAKIN