Grave Website

RIFLEMAN GEORGE WINDRAM – Sedbergh School seeks to commemorate a previously unknown WW1 casualty

4th Battalion 3rd New Zealand Rifle Brigade

Sedgwick 1895 – 1898

The School Archivist, Katy de la Rivière, was contacted earlier this month by the grandson of Rifleman George Windram. While researching George’s life his grandson had come across the Sedbergh School roll of honour online and was concerned to see that George did not feature in the document. George’s death was not recorded in contemporary Sedberghian magazines and sadly, the school had no knowledge of the sacrifice he made during WW1.

George Windram lived in Cheshire during his childhood and attended Birkenhead School before arriving at Sedbergh in 1895. George threw himself into Sedbergh life representing Sedgwick House in the Gymnasium House Eight competition and playing house cricket. He featured in an invitational rugby team formed by former pupil D. Rowley in 1899 and served the team well. The Sedberghian recorded that ‘Windram saved well’ and that ‘from the kick off the Browns pressed, and Bleased dribbled well until Windram come to the rescue.’ He remained a loyal friend to Sedbergh after finishing his education. In 1904 when a collection was made for ‘The Great Hall’, later named Powell Hall, both George and his father of the same name gave £1 1s each to the subscription fund.

After leaving school George held a commission in the British Army for a short time with the Scottish Battalion of the King’s Liverpool Regiment. As a civilian he embarked on a trip around the globe taking in South America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. He settled in New Zealand and purchased a sheep and beef farm near Whangarei in the northern part of the North Island. While resident in New Zealand George enlisted to fight in the First World War. George joined the 4th Battalion 3rd New Zealand Rifle Brigade towards the end of the war. On 31st December 1917 he set sail from Wellington on the vessel ‘Athenic’ bound for Glasgow, and then on to the front. Little is known of his military career but his death is recorded by the Commonwealth War Grave Commission as 12th September 1918, tantalizingly close to the cessation of fighting. George was killed by a sniper. He left behind a wife and young son in Onerahi, Whangarei, Auckland, New Zealand.

He is buried at Metz-En-Couture communal cemetery British Extension in France. Plot III D. 3.

During the 100 year commemorations of WW1 the Old Sedberghian Club sought to visit the grave of every known Sedberghian casualty. As news of George’s involvement in, and subsequent death during WW1 has only just recently reached the School, George was not included in the  Old Sedberghian Club ‘Pilgrimage’. If any OS find that they are visiting the area near Metz-En-Couture and would be willing to visit George’s grave the OS Club would be delighted to send a pilgrimage pack with a Sedbergh cross to lay on the grave and the pilgrimage prayer to be read by the graveside.

Katy de la Riviere