LEIGHTON, George Emmanuel DCM

Lance Corporal George Emmanuel Leighton DCM
30299 Lincolnshire Regiment
3697 Yorks & Lancs Regiment
30299 Labour Corps

George Emmanuel Leighton was born in 1888 in Ironville, son of Isaac Davies Leighton, a fish hawker, greengrocer of Ironville and Hannah (nee Richards) born East Markham, Notts.  In 1901 the family was living at 11, King William Street, Ironville, a green grocer’s shop. He had sisters and brothers John William, Joseph Arthur, Florence Elizabeth ‘Lizzie’ and Gladys May, all born in Ironville.  His father Isaac died in 1904 and by 1911 his mother had married John Hubball.

In 1908 George, aged 19,  married Mary Eliza Johnson at Ironville, Christchurch. George’s occupation is given as a shearer and place of residence as 11, King William Street, Ironville.
On the night of the 1911 census, George is living with his mother, and step-father John at 36, Victoria Street, Ironville. It states that George had been married for 3 years and had 2 children of whom 1 had survived, John Davis Leighton, aged 2. George’s wife Mary is not listed on the census with them.

They went on to have children Leslie in 1912 and then there is a significant gap until 1921 when a daughter named Florence was born, possibly caused by George being away from home in the war. In 1924 daughter Freda was born.

George enlisted on 19th March 1915 and was discharged from the Army on 19th December 1917, aged 28 years. He was awarded Silver War Badge no. 221868 due to having been incapacitated during his military service. George was a recipient of the 1914-15 Star as well as the Victory and British War Medals but, although he is listed on the Memorial as “DCM” we have, so far, been unable to locate any reference to this specific award.

In September 1922, George’s  youngest sister Gladys was tragically killed in a drowning accident whilst holidaying in Devon as a children’s nursemaid with the Morrison family.

‘Jacksdale Nursemaid’s Fate. Drowned in South Devon. Sad Holiday Incident.  After being in South Devon for nearly a fortnight as nursemaid with Mr. and Mrs. E. W. Morrison, of Eastcroft, Nottingham, Gladys Leighton, 21, of Jacksdale, came to her death in a mysterious manner. It appears that about 6.30 p.m. on August 24th she left Winsland House, Totnes, and an hour later screams were heard from the River Dart (there being a high spring tide at the time), and a woman was observed struggling in the water. Before anybody could reach the spot the girl had disappeared. On the bank was a blue velour hat, identified as belonging to the girl, whose body was recovered on the following day. 

Mr. T. Edmonds (deputy coroner) conducted the inquest, at which Mr. E. W. Morrison said deceased had never been ill since being with the family. There had been no complaints and he knew of no trouble. She had been with them 17 months, had given entire satisfaction, and he had every good reason to believe she was an absolutely good girl. In her box was found a postcard. “Dear Lily, – Having a good time, and everything. Advise you to come here on honeymoon. Love. ­ Gladys.” Witness said deceased appeared quite happy up to the last time he saw her. She was very excited about coming to Devon, which was the one thing she wanted to do. Witness was taking the body back to Nottingham, and paying the funeral expenses.
Mrs. Butt, cook at Winsland House, stated she did not know deceased had any trouble. About 6.20 to 6.30 she said she was going out. She commenced to write a note and began to cry. When asked the reason, she replied, “You will know the end of it to-morrow.” She tried to prevent the deceased going out, and, after reading the note, found she had gone. The note read: – To Mrs. Morrison. ­ Sorry about the jam, but if you write to my mother she will make it right. Mrs. J. Hubball, Sedgwick Street, Jacksdale, Notts. Witness’s mistress had spoken to deceased about using certain jam on that same day. She was very bright and cheerful, and, as far as witness knew, was happy. If she wanted jam, witness could have let her have it and had told her she need not go short of anything. There was no question of going short.  Mrs. Morrison, sen., said there had been no unpleasantness. On Thursday morning deceased was using the jam in the morning room, and said she hoped witness did not mind. She said she did not, but that deceased was not to take the cut-glass jars, which were for her own use. On returning she found deceased had again been using the jam, and told her she must not do so. There was not the slightest friction, and the deceased did not seem to be upset. After the incident she heard her singing cheerfully to the baby in the bathroom. So far as she knew she was a good girl, and an exceptionally good servant. Mrs Butt did not tell her that the deceased was crying, but said she had gone out and seemed very hysterical.
“Screams From The River.” Evidence was given of screams being heard from the river, and of the recovery of the body. P.s. Jewell said he had failed to find anything among the deceased’s belongings which threw light on the occurrence.  The Coroner said it was perfectly clear that death was due to drowning, but how she got into the water was a matter of doubt. There was no evidence that it was an accident and there was no proof of suicide. The verdict would be “Found drowned.”  On behalf of the deceased’s employers, Mr. Cornish Bowden expressed deep sympathy with the deceased’s parents. They were extremely sorry her death had occurred in this way. Deceased was a thoroughly good girl, efficient, and a good servant, who always gave satisfaction.’
1922 September 1st. Ripley and Heanor News. 

In 1944 a John W. Leighton, possibly George’s brother is commended for his bravery at the Stanton Ironworks at Riddings.  ‘MOLTEN METAL EXPLOSION – It was stated at an inquest at Derby yesterday into the death of George Hubble (42), of Riddings, that an explosion at Stanton Ironworks, as a result of which he died in hospital, blew 3cwt iron plates through the roof of  the building was presumably caused by a ladle of molten metal coming into contact with the damp ground and water seeping through the lining of the ladle. One witness said that the whole mass of metal in the ladle began to heave, there was an explosion and a sheet of flame went up to the roof. Hubble was found unconscious by John W. Leighton who was commended by the coroner on his action in getting Mr Hubble out.  A verdict of  ‘Death by misadventure’ was recorded.’
Derby Daily Telegraph 15th Dec 1944.