The Last of 631 Fatalities - Sheffield 1939-1945

One of the first articles I placed on the site many years ago was one about the loss of life that occurred on 12th December 1940 when the Marples public house in Fitzalan Square was flattened by a Luftwaffe bomb. It was the single biggest loss of life in Sheffield during the whole war.

But there were a number of other occasions when lives were lost as a result of Luftwaffe activity. The last two people to lose their lives in Sheffield were George Macbeth and William Trevor Wilde. They were killed on Clarkhouse Road in Sheffield on Monday 20th October 1941 but their deaths were caused not by a German bomb but by an anti-aircraft shell that exploded in the road near to them.

As you can see from the report of the incident in the local press, information was kept to a minimum due to strict wartime censorship. (Sheffield is listed as a North Midlands town). This is from the Telegraph and Independent dated Wednesday 22nd October 1941.

The following day the same paper reported details of George and Trevor's respective funerals in the Births, Marriages and Deaths column 


Telegraph and Independent dated Thursday 23rd October 1941

These are the entries from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission 

WILDE William, Trevor, age 23; BSc Ph.D; Gas Identification Service, Son of Mrs E M Wilde of 67 Marsh House Road. October 20, 1941, Clarkehouse Road. 
: Date of Death:20/10/1941 Age:37 Regiment/Service: Civilian War Dead Reporting Authority: SHEFFIELD, COUNTY BOROUGH
Additional Information: 2/Lieut., Home Guard; of 7 Southbourne Road. Husband of Amelia Morton Mary MacBeth. Died at 7 Endcliffe Terrace Road.

Trevor was cremated at Sheffield's City Road Crematorium on
Thursday 23rd October 1941 and George was interred at Crookes Cemetery the following day 

His brother John Philip who is mentioned in the report was killed in action in Egypt in April 1941 whilst serving with the Royal Artillery. This is his entry in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database 

Rank: Lance Serjeant
Service No: 1433215
Date of Death: 29/04/1941
Regiment/Service: Royal Artillery 37 Bty., 13 Lt. A.A. Regt. 
Grave Reference: 1. F. 9.
Additional Information: Son of William Henry Edward and Ethel May Wilde, of Sheffield; husband of Joan Mary Wilde, of Sheffield.

William and Ethel lost two sons within the space of a few months.

MACBETH. In loving memory of my husband, 2nd Lieut George Macbeth, (67th WR[?DN] Home Guard) killed through enemy action, Oct 20th 1941, aged 37 years.
"In remembrance"
This stone was inscribed by A M Mary Macbeth, who died in hospital April 20th 1951, aged 48 years.
"Their lives, in death, are my inspiration. George"
[George Macbeth appears identical with 2/Lieut., Home Guard, of 7 Southbourne Rd. Husband of Amelia Morton Mary Macbeth, at 7 Endcliffe Terrace Rd. Memorial County Borough of Sheffield, Yorkshire (West Riding), Section of the Civilian War Dead Register.]

MACBETH, George (Second Lieutenant H.G, age 37). Died at 7 Endcliffe Terrace Road; Buried on October 24, 1941 in Unconsecrated ground; Grave Number 5659, Section G of Crookes Cemetery, Sheffield.

MACBETH, Amelia Morton Mary (Widow, age 48). Died at Royal Hospital; Buried on April 24, 1951 in Unconsecrated ground; Grave Number 5659, Section G of Crookes Cemetery, Sheffield.

The report stated that George was returning home from Home Guard duty to ensure that his wife and son were safe. He never made it but his wife and son did survive. In fact his son went on to enjoy as reputation as both a poet and a novelist. 

George MacBeth is a poet of trickery and wild contradictions who has made a career out of defying expectations for what constitutes "good" poetry. Born in 1932 to George MacBeth and Amelia Morton Mary Mann MacBeth in the small town of Shotts, Scotland, MacBeth was raised in Sheffield. His poetry, however, is marked with a big city, often world-weary consciousness. In 1955 he graduated from New College, Oxford with a degree in Classical Greats, and later produced shows on literature and the arts for the BBC. His poetry, however, often undermines the constraints, both thematic and stylistic, of Classical literature. Although his first collection of poems, A Form of Words (1954), was relatively in keeping with the conventions of mid-century British poetry, most of the poetry he published after is a macabre verse laden with black humor, which embraces various kinds of satire, parody, and often unidentifiable tones. MacBeth..

George Mann MacBeth (19 January 1932 – 16 February 1992) was a Scottish poet and novelist. He was born in Shotts, Lanarkshire.

When he was three, his family moved to Sheffield. He was educated in Sheffield at King Edward VII School where he was Head Prefect in 1951 (photo), before going up to New College, Oxford, with an Open Scholarship in Classics.

He joined BBC Radio on graduating in 1955 from the University of Oxford. He worked there, as a producer of programmes on poetry, notably for the BBC Third Programme, until 1976. He was a member of The Group.

He resigned from the BBC to take up novel writing; he introduced a series of thrillers involving the spy, Cadbury. In his later post-BBC years, after divorcing his first wife, he married the novelist Lisa St Aubin de Terán, by whom he had a child, Alexander Morton George MacBeth. After a divorce, he moved with his new wife, Penny, to Ireland to live at Moyne Park, Abbeyknockmoy, near Tuam in County Galway. A few months later, George MacBeth was diagnosed as suffering from motor neurone disease, of which he died in early 1992. In the last poetry he wrote, MacBeth provides an anatomy of a cruel disease and the destruction it caused two people deeply in love. Penny and George had two children, Diana ("Lally") Francesca Ronchetti MacBeth and George Edward Morton Mann MacBeth. 

Poems from Oby (1982) was a Choice of the Poetry Book Society; Oby is a Norfolk village. He received a Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize for his work. He died in Tuam, County Galway, Ireland.


Telegraph and Independent dated Wednesday 22nd October 1941

Telegraph and Independent dated Thursday 23rd October 1941

Commonwealth War Graves Commission


Old Edwardians

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