George Kellett

Born: 1898
Died: 1996
Service number: 92226
Rank: Private
Regiment / Service: Notts and Derby Regiment
Family information: Son of Charles and Susannah Kellett 

War Service

Due to lack of service records it is not possible to know exactly when George enlisted in the Army.

However, being told that he was in the 17th Battalion of the Notts and Derby Regiment was sufficient to find two sources of documentation - his medal index card (MIC) and the Service medal and Awards Roll.

Neither of these indicate he was in the 17th but clearly show that he was in the 9th Battalion Notts and Derby Regiment who were also referred to as the Sherwood Foresters. He was given the service number 92226.

Further enquiries elicited the information that his regimental number was consistent with him transferring to the Sherwood Foresters from a Training Reserve or other Battalion around July 1917.

This could quite possibly have been the 17th (Service) N&D Battalion also known as the Welbeck Rangers. Formed at Nottingham on 1 June 1915 by the Mayor and a Recruiting Committee, The Welbeck Rangers moved to Aldershot in October 1915 and came under orders of 117th Brigade in 39th Division. They moved to Witley in November 1915 and on 6 March 1916 landed in France.

They played a prominent part in the Somme Battle from August 1916 to the bitter end in November 1916 with heavy losses. They were also engaged in the 1917 offensive.

If as indicated above George at that point was transferred to the 9th Battalion, which was part of the 33rd brigade (Northern Division) he would have seen further action including the bitter drawn out Battle at Passchendaele. In 1917 they were in action in Operations on the Ancre then moved north to Flanders for - The Battle of Messines, - this was probably one of the most successful campaigns in the war and involved setting off 22 mines that blew up the Messines Ridge killing nearly 10,000 German troops and creating a bang loud enough to be heard in Dublin.

  • The Battle of the Langemarck,
  • The Battle of Polygon Wood,
  • The Battle of Broodseinde
  • The Battle of Poelcapelle.

In 1918 they were at Arras for

  • The Battle of the Scarpe
  • The Battle of the Drocourt-Quant Line
  • The Battles of the Hindenburg Line 
  • The Battle of the Sambre including the passage of the Grand Honelle.

At the Armistice the Division was on high ground east of Havay.

Although it is not clear if George participated in all of these actions he would certainly have been a seasoned campaigner by the time the war was over.

Family Life

The first mention of George Kellett's family in Brotherton comes in the 1861 census. There were other families of the same name that can be traced back earlier than this but may or may not be related.

In 1861 William Kellett and his wife were living on the High Street not far from the Lime Kiln Inn.

Whereas Elizabeth was from a Brotherton family, William was born in Byram cum Poole in about 1838. His parents were Charles and Sarah. Charles was born in 1804 and the 1851 census has him as being born in Hardwick, Yorkshire. This could have been East Hardwick near Pontefract or Hardwick near Rotherham. Sarah (1805) came from Staffordshire. Charles and Sarah had 9 children of which William was the third.

William and Elizabeth married in 1858 and appear to have had a smaller family with 4 children – George Henry (1859), Charles (1863), Polley (1868) and George (1869). William was employed for most of his life as a 'labourer', first on the railway and then on farms. The family did not move very far, if at all, during the next few decades as by 1891 they were listed as living in Bramhams yard which was off the High Street not far from Schorah's boot and shoe shop.

At that time Charles was employed as a 'coal miner'. On the 4 December 1894 he married Susannah Wood who originally came from Morley. She had been living in Low Street with her parents Isaac and Elizabeth who both hailed from Wakefield. Isaac was a 'miner'.

Charles and Susannah had 9 children in total with 8 surviving till at least 1911. George was the third of their children and was born in 1898.

The family were living in Nancy Taylor Yard by then and George was still at school. The photograph is of George with his sisters 'Lizzy' and Caroline. As Caroline was born in 1905 it probably dates this to about 1911 or 1912. The photograph was taken at Savings House (very close to Nancy Taylor Yard) on the North Road which can just be seen through the gate.

George would have started work around this time but as yet the period up to him joining the army is a blank.

Charles Kellett died in September 1941 aged 78 and was buried in Brotherton. At the time of his death he was living in the Nunnery. Susannah died in January 1949 having continued to reside in the Nunnery and was also buried in Brotherton

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