George Frederick Jones was born in Whitchurch, Shropshire, in 1893, the fourth of seven surviving children of Samuel and Kate Jones1. Samuel Jones, a sawyer from Wem, married Kate Maddox, a railway carter’s daughter from Coalport, in 1884 and the couple settled in Wem. Their first child, named Samuel after his father, was born in 1885, followed by Henry in 1888. At the end of the decade the family moved to Whitchurch where Kate gave birth to her third child, Joseph, in 1891. The Census of that year shows Samuel, Kate and the three children living at Catteralls Lane in Broughall, a village two miles east of Whitchurch.
By 1911 the family were living at Smithy Cottages in Broughall. Seventeen-year-old George had also left home and was working as a footman for Constance Lingen Morris at her home in Oxon, some twenty miles south of Whitchurch. Mrs Morris was a wealthy widow who, despite living with just her daughter, employed nine domestic staff: a housekeeper, two lady’s maids, two housemaids, a kitchen maid, a butler, a footman (George Jones) and a hall boy. Mrs Morris died in February 1914, and George Jones was forced to find a new position.
He became a footman for Mrs Harriet Pitcairn Campbell at Christleton Hall in the village of Christleton, two miles south of Chester. Mrs Pitcairn Campbell was another wealthy widow who, according to the 1911 Census, employed no fewer than ten staff to look after her: a sick nurse, lady’s maid, three housemaids, cook, kitchen maid, scullery maid, groom and footman.