Personal information about George Willis

Below is all the information we have about George Willis. As far as we know, the information is correct. However, if you find any errors or have additional information, certificates or pictures, please contact us so that we can update this page. Thank you.

Burial Information

Name on burial register:
   George Willis
Burial register image
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Age at death:
Date of burial:
   13 November 1942
Abode at death:
(according to burial register)
   50 Kingsbridge Road, Newbury
Burial register information:
Book number: 1917
Page number: 242
Record number: 11529
Official at burial:
   J H Cook (As. Curate St. NIcholas)
Source of information:
  Burial Register

Memorial Details

  08 November 1942
  Kerbstones with headstone
  On headstone: Peace/ In Loving Memory/of/ George, beloved husband of / Charlotte Willis/ who died as the result of an accident / November 8th 1942 aged 59 years./ Always in our thoughts/ Also/ Charlotte Willis died April 8th 1956 aged 73 years.//
  Kerbs with headstone.
  01 August 2013
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Obituaries and Newspaper announcements

George Willis
Article source:    Newbury Weekly News
Date of source:    12 November 1942
Copyright:    © Newbury Weekly News









Inquest at Newbury


Mr. E.V. Pinniger, the Newbury Borough Coroner, enquired late into an extraordinary fatal accident on a building site on Sunday. George Willis, a man aged 59, was standing in a trench only 5ft deep by 2ft 6in wide, when a piece of clay slipped away from the side of trench and pinned him to the other side. He was taken to Newbury Hospital, where he died directly, after admission. The clay, which weighed just over a hundredweight, had crushed his ribs, causing severe damage to his lungs. This was the cause of death.


Willis, who was a married man wife a wife and four children, lived at 50 Kingsbridge-road. He was a builder's labourer, and at the time was working for Messrs Cooke Bros., contractors.


At the inquest which was held at Newbury Police Court on Tuesday afternoon, Mr. J.T. Louch, solicitor, appeared for Messrs Cooke Bros., whilst a son of the deceased man, in R.A.F. Uniform, was also present.


Joseph Burton Tarrant, a foreman bricklayer for Messrs Cooke Bros., said he had known the deceased for 40 years and had worked with him on building sites on may occasions. About three o'clock on Sunday afternoon, deceased was in a trench on a building site near Newbury, assisting with levelling operations. He was holding a levelling staff, when a piece of clay slipped from the side and pinned him against the other wall of the trench. Witness said he assisted to free him. Mr. Louch; About how big was the piece of clay? - It probably weighed from one to one and a half hundredweight.

Could you give me any idea of its size? I should think it was about 2ft 6ins in depth and a foot in width. It was wedge shaped and tapered down to a point.

So its average thickness would not have been anything like a foot? - No, it was very thin at the bottom.

The trench was only about 2½ft in width? - It was 2ft 6ins. Wide and only five feet in depth.

The piece of earth would have had no distance to fall before it pinned the unfortunate man? - No, it didn't fall, but slipped upon him.

Was there anything to indicate to you as foreman that anything of the sort was likely to happen?

I have been foreman for the past 40 years and have never had anything of a similar occurrence before. The deceased had got into the trench to knock a peg in. He was not there more than five minutes and in another two minutes he would have been out of it.

As foreman, was there anything to indicate to you that there was anything of the sort was likely to happen? - It was a thousand to one chance.

There was nothing to indicate that there was any likelihood of any fall of clay or earth?-No, we have trenches far deeper than that and perfectly safe.


Mr. Cooke's Evidence


Arthur George Cooke, director of the firm of Messrs Cooke Bros. Ltd., building contractors, of Newbury, said he was at the site at the time. They were levelling in a peg. Deceased was assisting him. He was an experienced labourer and had frequently been in their employ. A mechanical excavator had just started on a drainage trench, which at the time of the accident was about five feet deep, eight feet in length and two feet six inches wide. The deceased was in the trench assisted with the levelling, when suddenly, without warning, a piece of clay slipped from the side of the trench upon him, pinning him against the wall. Witness obtained a piece of timber with which to lever the clay away. His foreman assisted the deceased up a ladder out of the trench. He was taken on a stretcher to the office, and whilst this was being done, an ambulance and doctor were sent for, and he was removed to the Newbury District Hospital. The soil was clay and the sides of the trench appeared to be sound. The excavator was not working whilst the deceased was in the trench. Mr. Cooke said he would not have hesitated to go into the trench himself had there been any need for him to do so. The excavator was not on the side of the trench where the accident happened, as it had only just started. Mr. Cooke said in his opinion it was not necessary to shore up the sides of a trench of that size and in that soil.

Mr. Louch said that the Borough Surveyor, Mr. Hutton, who had inspected the trench after the accident, was present in Court and would give evidence as to the trench if the Coroner wished.

The Coroner indicated that he would hear him.


Edward Howell Hutton, Borough Surveyor for Newbury, was then called. He said he inspected the trench the morning after the accident. Having regard to the width of the trench he was most surprised that a piece of clay had broken away and had been responsible for a fatal accident. In his opinion there was no need to take any special precautions such as shoring or timbering.


Dr. H. Warburton Lewis said that he was informed of the accident about 3.15 p.m. And at once went to the site. When he arrived, the man was just leaving in the ambulance for the hospital. He followed him there. He found the deceased suffering from badly crushed ribs. He died almost immediately. The cause of death was lung damage, due to fractured ribs.

The Coroner returned a verdict of Accidental death, and expressed his sympathy with the wife and family of the deceased. Mr. Louch on behalf of Messrs. Cooke Bros., associated himself with this.


Newbury Weekly News 12 November 1942


Mrs P. p 58

Ch 15


BMD Births

Newbury 2c 238 Sept Q 1883

This obituary entry is awaiting verification.
George Willis
Article source:    Newbury Weekly News and Mrs Pattison
Date of source:    19 November 1942
Copyright:    © Newbury WeeklyNews




 The funeral service of Mr. George Willis, 50, Kingsbridge-road, Newbury; whose death was reported last week, took place at the Parish Church on Friday, the service being conducted by the Rev. J.H. Cook.  The interment was in the Newtown-road Cemetery. 

The mourners were Wife, Cis (daughter), Frank, Raymond and Donald Willis (sons), Cis, Kate (sisters), Tom and Frank Willis (brothers), Bess and Bill (sister-in-law and brother-in-law), Mrs. F. Willis (sister-in-law), Monica (niece), Mrs. F. Willis (daughter-in-law).

 Wreaths were sent from: Wife; Frank and Ivy; Raymond and Francis; Cis and Don; Molly, Kate, Dolly and Tom; Frank, Maggie and Monica; Directors, Cooke Bros Ltd.; Mary and Bob; Neighbours of Kingsbridge-road; Mr. and Mrs. W.H. Pocock; Mr and Mrs. Reg. Pococok; Workmates of Turnpike-road; Mr. Rawlins’ Mrs. King; Mrs. Knapp; Mr. Keen; Ivan, Barry and Arthur; A.E. Rawlings; Aggie and Boys; Mrs. Fisher; Mrs. Waren; Mrs. Giles; Mr. and Mrs. Perris; Mrs. Trotter; Mrs. Turner Taylor.

The funeral arrangements were carried out by Mr. Turner, of Hampton-road.

Also -     Wife Charlotte (nee Dean) d. 08/04/1956 aged 73 years


 NWN 19/11/1942

Mrs P. p. 58 Ch. 15

d. 8/11/1942 aged 59 years

This obituary entry is awaiting verification.
George Willis
Article source:    Newbury Weekly News
Date of source:    13 November 1942
Copyright:    © Newbury Weekly News





A serious accident befell an aged man named George Willis, a bricklayer residing at Stockcross, which was likely to have proved fatal. As he was returning from his day’s work on Thursday evening last, and when opposite the Castle Inn, Speen, he accepted an invitation from a neighbour to a seat in his cart, which was returning from market.  He had scarcely seated himself when, from some unexplained cause, he was seized, as is supposed, with giddiness, and fell over the tailboard of the cart into the road, breaking one of his ribs and severely bruising his chest bone.  The fractured rib was forced by the weight and violence of the fall into the lungs, causing the most excruciating pain, in addition to that of the severe shaking which such a fall would be sure to produce on the frame of a man advanced in years.  Mr and Mrs Franklin, who were with him in the cart rendered all the assistance which laid in their power, and carefully conveyed him to his home, where he received prompt medical attention. Though considered a trifle better, the poor fellow lies in a precarious and pitiable condition. He states that from the time he took his seat till he found himself supported in the road by Mrs Franklin, who was bathing him with cold water, he has no recollection of anything, but he supposes he must have been either faint or giddy.  He attributes it to God’s mercy that he was not killed on the spot. 

This obituary entry is awaiting verification.

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