From Hoole History and Heritage Society

WELSFORD, George Keith

George Keith WELSFORD

Regiment: 11 Sqn. Royal Flying Corps

Rank: Lieutenant - Observer

Died: 20 October 1916

Aged: 24

Buried/ Memorial: Arras Memorial, France

Address: ‘Hoole House’, Hoole

Chester Chronicle 28 October 1916


"Lieut George Keith Welsford RFC (killed in action) was 24 years of age, and the eldest son of Mr and Mrs J H Welsford, formerly of Hoole House, near Chester and a Unionist candidate for the Crewe Division. Lieut Welsford received his commission in July of this year."

George was educated at Harrow and their records contain further information about him and a letter from one of his brothers that describes the fatal incident.


"Eldest son of James Hughes Welsford, Shipowner, of Hoole House, Chester, and of his wife, Ethel Welsford.

Gymnasium VIII: won Light-weight Boxing Competition: Ebrington Swimming Cup.

Lieutenant Welsford, who, after leaving Harrow, had been abroad for several years in British Columbia and Demerara, returned to England on the outbreak of War and enlisted in the Royal Engineers, as a Despatch Rider. A year later he was given a Commission in the Royal Flying Corps in France and became Machine Gun Officer to the nth Squadron (11 Squadron). He was killed on 20th October 1916."

His brother wrote as follows, describing the manner of his death:

“It was about 7.30 am on October 20th that five aeroplanes went up from the Squadron to take photographs. They were two or three miles over the German lines, between Arras and Douai, when they were attacked by about 27 Hun aeroplanes, and George’s machine was ahead of all the rest and went straight into the middle of them. A tremendous battle ensued, and George’s machine being the foremost was prettily heavily attacked and four Huns got firing at him directly from behind…..George at once got up on his seat and was busy firing his top gun, when one Hun machine got a gun on him and riddled the pilot, putting about seven or eight shots into his back and smashing up the engine. The pilot was, I think, rendered unconscious, at any rate he lost control of the machine and it turned over and dived, and poor George, who had been standing up on his seat, was seen to go over the top plane and disappear.

Additional information is available at Hoole Hospitals 1914 - 1919.