Private George Libbiter

Thank you to Karen Wilson from Betchworth Village Archives for allowing us to publish her research.

George Libbiter was Alfred’s younger brother – there was eight years between them. He was born in Betchworth in 1898 and attended Betchworth school from 1902 to December 1910 when he was old enough to be at work. Whilst at school he received 5s (from the Betchworth United Charities) for 100% attendance at school. This was the second time he had achieved this and he also received a bar to be attached to the medal he had been awarded. (His sister Ellen had also achieved 100% attendance, with a similar reward). George was also a member of the Scout troop, a fact later mentioned in the Parish Magazine.

In January 1916 the Military Service Act was passed and by May 1916 all men aged between 18 and 41 were being conscripted into the armed services. George was 18 on August 30th 1916 and subsequently enlisted at Guildford into the Coldstream Guards.

In June 1918 the Parish Magazine reported that ‘George Libbiter is also a prisoner.’ Sadly, this news was already out of date (and probably inaccurate. The Vicar, Rev. Longley relied on information being passed to him.) George Libbiter had been wounded in April 1918 when the German Army pushed the Allied lines back towards the La Bassée canal in Flanders in their Spring offensive.

On April 18th 1918 George Libbiter died from his wounds; he was 19 years old. He is buried in the Ebblinghem Military Cemetery, near Hazebrouck. The cemetery was begun by the 2nd and 15th Casualty Clearing Stations, who came to Ebblinghem in April 1918.

This was at the beginning of the German offensive and the cemetery was used until July.

George Libbiter Gravestone Inscription © CWGC.org

George’s parents, William and Fanny, chose to have the following put on his headstone: ‘A shock severe of one so dear. It was God’s will. We’ll not complain’

Born                            Betchworth, Surrey
Lived                           Cranleigh, Surrey

Son of                          William and Fanny Libbiter of The Street, Betchworth
Brother of                     Alfred Libbiter

Regiment                     3rd Battalion. Coldstream Guards
Number                       19258

Date of Death              18th April 1918
Place of Death             Northern France
Cause of Death            Died of wounds

Age                             19

Cemetery                     Ebblinghem Military Cemetery, Hazebrouck, France