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George Henry Pike
Information supplied through Research Project led by Nigel Crompton.
Full name of worker at H.M. Factory Gretna (and any other names they are known by) : George Henry Pike
Date and Place of Birth: 4 December 1882. Stonehouse, Devon
Date and Place of Death: 12 March 1917 at 4am. Killed as result of explosion.
Childhood: Had two brothers. The 1911 census indicates there was third sibling who died.
Parents: Richard & Mary Ann (nee Holwill)
Parent’s occupations: His father was a constable with the Devon Constabulary, when George was born.
Schools / universities attended and years of attendance: N/K
Occupation: Store clerk – previously in Royal Navy.
Place of residence at Gretna: C 4 Eastriggs
Job title at Gretna: Munitions worker
Marital status: Unmarried
Trivia / any other information:
George Henry was born on 4th December 1882 into the family of Richard and Mary Ann Pike. Richard was a constable at the time with Devon Constabulary. On the 1891 census the family are living at 3 Popular Row, East Budleigh.
By 1898 Richard, now a Sergeant had died in service and George had joined the Navy although his service record shows he falsified his age by a year giving his date of birth as 04/12/1881.
After serving for a number of years, he was invalided out in August 1901. His mother had moved to the Ellacombe area of Torquay and had a house on Princes Street West. No 9. He would remain home for some years and appears on the documentation relating to George’s death.
No definitive entry has been found for George on the 1911 census, but there is a George of the correct age working at Torquay Corporation Waterworks.
At what point George went to work at Gretna has not been found but had the clock number 25536. He lived in C 4 Eastriggs.
On March 12 1917, an explosion occurred in the Broomhills sector of HM Factory. George was described as being an acid circulator but this does not give us any further clues as to an exact location nor does any official paperwork help plus no enquiry appears to have been held.
George appears on the death register for the parish of Gretna, 1917. Described as a munitions worker, he died aged 34. He died of shock and haemorrhage, the result of the accident.
George was laid to rest in Rigg Cemetery between Gretna and Eastriggs. His headstone was engraved ‘died in the works hospital of Eastriggs Munitions Works’ and then underneath ‘Erected by his companions and fellow workers as a token of respect and esteem’. His mother emigrated to Canada to be with her two sons and their families. Both sons had served in World War One.
The Ministry of Munitions records indicate that £125 compensation was paid to the George’s family plus £10 8s 6d in funeral expenses.
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