Two Men Named Christmas
Christmas is usually a time for celebration and family gatherings. This year has been something out of the ordinary. The year 2020 will no doubt be written in the annals of history.
Today is the 25th of December 2020, Christmas Day and this started me wondering if there were any WW1 casualties with Christmas as their first names? A few years ago I wrote about unusual first name, you know, things like drinks, places, special occasions etc., Christmas. Was there any waiting to be researched?
As it happens in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission online website, there are 61 entries with Christmas in their first names. Of which 45 are from the First World War. Which of these 45 young men should be part of my ramblings?
A Yorkshire man? – George Thomas Christmas Stimpson. George served in the West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales’s Own) H Company, 1st Battalion. No, he wasn’t a Yorkshire man, he was a native of Cromer. George started his time in the army when after enlisting in Norwich. He served as Private 9204 in the 1st Battalion.
George seems to have been in France and Belgium from around November 1914 – this is confirmed by him being eligible for the 1914 Star, long with the British and Victory Medals.
George, aged 21, died on or since the 19th of August 1916. He has no known grave but remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing. George, included in the Register of Soldiers’ Effects names his uncles Samuel and John as beneficiaries. His uncles were to divide approximately £28 paid in two instalments, the last in September 1919.
Another young man named Christmas was Christmas Newbery. Christmas was the son of George and Susan Newbery and elder brother to Ethel and Dora. You may have guessed why Christmas got his name? He was born on Boxing Day 1891 in Lambeth, London. On the 23rd of March 1892, the family left their home, 88 Dover Buildings to take Christmas to St Mary Magdalene’s Church, Southwark for his baptism.
In 1911 the family and Helen Turner, a niece, were all living at 126 Totterdown Street, Tooting, London. Christmas was an Assistant Postman working for the G.P.O. (General Post Office).
The Great War began in 1914. it must have been shortly after this Christmas Enlisted as he was eligible for the 1914-1915 Star, the British and Victory Medals. He joined the Seaforth Highlanders and served as Private, 911, and on the 1st of March 1915, he was in France. After being killed in action on the 15th of June, 1915 he is remembered on Le Touet Memorial, France.
His mother, Susan Newbery of 114 Gasscot Road, Tooting, submitted a claim for her son’s pension. There are multiple index cards for this pension claim, each of which has a different address for the family. The small amount of 10/- was granted to Susan for a few years then reduced to 5/-for life.