TOPLISS, George Arnold

Private George Arnold Topliss
Northumberland Fusiliers (Possibly service no. 58664)

ToplisGAGeorge Topliss was born on the 3rd May 1892 in Westwood, son of Samuel and Emily (nee Newbold) Topliss. Emily was the daughter of Ben Newbold, formerly of Wansley Hall Farm, Westwood. The 1901 Census shows the family living at 107 Palmerston Street, Westwood and at that time Sam was 44, Emily was 34, George was 8 and his sister Mary Ann was 4. George’s father, Sam worked for many years at the Butterley Company’s Codnor Park Works but a greater portion of his working life was spent at Brookhill Pit.

On leaving school George became a miner, working at Selston and later Pye Hill Colliery. On 3rd February 1917 he married Annie Hooper of Langley Mill, and in the November of that year, Annie gave birth to a son, Leslie. In the Spring of 1918, George was taken out of the mines and sent to France, where he served in the Northumberland Fusiliers. When he left for France, Annie was newly pregnant with their second child.  George survived the horrors of the Great War, only to be greeted on his return home with the news that both Annie, aged 24 and new born son William aged 2 days were dead. They have both succumbed to the Spanish Flu. (The Spanish Flu was a form of influenza that broke out in 1918 in pandemic proportions and caused the death of millions throughout Europe).  Annie was buried with her newborn son in Westwood churchyard. George returned to working down the pit and Leslie was raised by his grandparents, Samuel & Emily.

George did re-marry a few years later. Hannah Astbury became his second wife and they went on to have three daughters, Marjorie, Elsie and Winifred. George lived for many years at Palmerston Street, Westwood and regularly played the piano at The Royal Oak. He outlived Hannah and died on the 22nd January 1973 at the home of his second daughter, Elsie. He was eighty years old.

The above account has been kindly provided and written by Graham Topliss (grandson).  Also details from the obituary of Samuel Topliss – Ripley & Heanor News 1933 May 19th.