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One of our readers asked for more information on George William Appleby. Born in Heath Town in 1898 to parents George and Jesse (nee Melville) Appleby, George William is listed at 358 Wolverhampton Road, Heath Town in the 1901 census, together with his parents (his father was a locksmith).

Article in the Express & Star, 19 March 1919

Part of the article in the Express & Star, 19 March 1919

Very little more is known about him, other than the fact that he was a Prisoner of War. On 18 and 19 March 1919, the proprietors of the Express & Star hosted a dinner and entertainment at the Baths Assembly Rooms in Wolverhampton to Returned Prisoners of War. At Wolverhampton Archives, we have a copy of the programme for this event. The menu included cod and oyster sauce, roast beef, boiled mutton, as well as pears and custard. The music was provided by the String Band of the Special Constabulary, along with singers including Madame Parkes-Darby, the wife of Ernest Darby. A large report of the event is given in the newspaper on March 19 and March 20 1919, although individual soldiers are not mentioned. The Chief Magistrate’s speech is quoted:

“Wolverhampton…is proud of you, and I trust that people will never have short memories, but will throughout the coming years realise that you fought and suffered for the freedom of civilisation. I welcome you back with the heartiest of greetings. We know what it must have been for many of you who, year after year, while languishing in the grip of the cruel Huns, hoped, almost against hope, that you would one day be free again. You are free, and we are glad, and rejoice with you.”

This was apparently greeted with “lusty cheers”.

Private G. W. Appleby, of 83 Inkerman Street, Heath Town, is amongst the 900 men listed in the programme. Unfortunately, unlike with some of the soldiers, his regiment and battalion is not given. There are medal cards at the National Archives for at least 9 George W. Applebys, so this does not help us to narrow him down. A search for a marriage for him is also tricky, as there are two George W. Appleby’s who got married in Wolverhampton post-war, one to a Leah Owen in 1922, and one to an Ethel E. Fenn in 1927.

All of which brings us back round in circles, so we are still not much further forward in finding out more background to George Appleby. If any of our readers are able to help fill in some of the blanks, we would be very grateful!

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