Captain George Stewart

Biography of Captain George Stewart

George Stewart was born on the 30th June 1884 at 20 Tower Street, Kinning Park, Glasgow, Lanarkshire. He was the son of John Stewart, a Joiner, and Agnes Stewart (nee McNair), who had married on the 6th April 1883, also in Kinning Park. George enrolled at the University aged 19 to study for an Arts degree.

George took classes in Latin and English in his first year, and also studied Logic, History and Mathematics. He particularly excelled in English, winning two first class certificates for his efforts in the subject. He graduated MA in 1905 and passed the Scotch Education Department examination for Teacher’s Certification in 1906. At that time, he was engaged at Newbattle Public School in Midlothian. He subsequently became head of the English Department at Hillhead High School in the west end of Glasgow.

Captain George Stewart died in action on the 5th June 1917. He is remembered on the Glasgow Provincial Training College war memorial for teachers and teacher training students, which is located in the David Stow Building on the former Jordanhill Campus, University of Strathclyde.

Obituary from the Hillhead High School War Memorial Volume:

"By the death in action of Captain George Stewart, who was born on 30th June 1884, Hillhead High School has suffered a grievous loss. Though his term here as head of the English Department has to be reckoned in months rather than in years, he made a deep and abiding impression on our School life. It is not easy to analyse the causes of this exceptional influence, but at least some lie on the surface.

For one thing, he was an incomparable teacher. He ruled his pupils as a magician, and seemed to rivet their attention by some occult charm of his own. He was at home with the great in English literature, and had caught from them the breath and finer essence of all knowledge. He lived in and for his work, and threw himself with ardour into all the School activities - games, literary society, everything indeed that touched upon the corporate life and welfare of the School.

In March 1915, Mr Stewart applied for a commission, and in April was gazetted to the Northumberland Fusiliers, the Tyneside Irish. Those who did not know Mr Stewart well expressed surprise at his joining up so early. War and strife were hateful to his well-ordered views of life. He proceeded to France in January 1916, and had a long and trying experience in the trenches. In the great advance of 1st July 1916, he was seriously injured in the head and arm, and was in hospital at home for some months.

At the beginning of 1917, he rejoined his regiment, and after a spell of light duty, returned to the Front in March 1917. He had not been long back with his old battalion when he was promoted acting Captain. His letters from the Front were always bright and cheery, and the one written to his wife on the 5th June, the day of his death, was no exception to the rule. The final scene may best be told in the words of his commanding officer;"

"Your husband was out superintending the digging of a trench across No Man's Land, and was killed by a shell. The battalion can ill afford to lose such an officer, cool, quiet, brave under all circumstances, with a wonderful devotion to duty, he was loved and respected by us all; his thoughts were always for the good of those under him, and it is small wonder that the men had such great trust and faith in him."

Summary

Captain George Stewart
Rank: Captain
Regiment: 26th Bn. Northumberland Fusiliers (Tyneside Irish)
Degree: N/A
Awards: N/A
Comments: Killed in action, 5 June 1917.
Note/Press Clipping: Ch 4/4/2/3/1226
Photo ID: N/A

Sources

University of Glasgow Faculty and Registry records (GUAS Ref: SEN10/46 and SEN10/47).

Biographical information: Records of the Glasgow Provincial Training College, forerunner of Jordanhill College of Education - now the University of Strathclyde). Information provided by Dr Anne Cameron, Archives Assistant, University of Strathclyde Archives.

Obituary: Hillhead High School War Memorial Volume (War Memorial Committee, 1921)

Memorial Place: Commonwealth War Graves Commission - Find War Dead

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