George Carter Plinston
When he was about seventeen, he enlisted in the Royal Artillery. He was in the Army long enough to become acting supernumerary Bombardier. His parent bought him out of the Army, possibly after about a year.
He then became a journalist, probably with the Northern Daily Mail. This was published in Hartlepool, Durham. On 21st September 1881 he married Fanny Wright in the Parish Church of Lower Bebbington, in the Wirral, Cheshire. The only member of either family present was, apparently, Charles, his brother.
They lived in West Hartlepool, where both sons, Frank Cyril and George Herbert, were born. In 1885 George was made Editor of the Northern Daily Mail. He only held this position for two years as, in 1887, he was appointed as a senior reporter to the Bombay Gazette. The family travelled out to India that year.
For some time all went well. Then the original proprietor left to become editor and proprietor of the Times of India, which was published in Delhi. George became editor and, in practice, manager of the paper. The owner neglected his duties and George had to manage all aspects of publishing with few staff and inadequate funding. In 1906 the paper was sold to a syndicate, George remaining as editor, but it was still inadequately financed. The paper ceased publication in 1914.
At about this time Fanny left her husband and returned to England. She bought a small cottage in Bath and lived there for many years. Later she sold her house and lived in a boarding house until she died at the end of World War 2.
George was left without a job and without any propsect of one in his trade of journalism, He applied for and obtained the paid and live-in job of Secretary of the Bombay Yacht Club.
George remained in that position until he died on 6th December 1920.
|George Carter Plinston (center standing), Fanny (seated left), with the Viceroy of India (center seated).|
THE TIMES OF INDIA, WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 8, 1920
DEATH OF MR. PLINSTON.
Well-Known Bombay Journalist.
We much regret to announce the death, on Monday, of Mr. George Carter Plinston. He had been in ill heath for some time past and during the last two or three weeks his condition had given grave anxiety to his friends; but it was not generally recognised that the end was so near.
George Plinston was born on 31st may, 1860 [actually 1859] and educated at Warrington. As a young man he enlisted in the Royal Artillery and his experiences in the ranks afforded him material for many tales in after years. He rose, as he used to aver, by diligence and attension to duty to the proud rank of acting supernumery bombardier; but his brief career in the Army came to and end when he was bought out by his parents and thereafter he devoted himself to journalism. He carried from the Army a permanent souvenir in a scar from a brickbat hurled by a truculent roter in some North of England riots -- his only wound, he called it. His early experience on The Nothern Daily Mail, of which he beacame Edito in 1885, was followed in 1887 by his appointment to the staff of The Bombay Gazette, the edited by Mr. Grattan Geary. There are not many Englishmen left in Bombay now who remember Plinston as he was in those days. There he had an uphill task. As long as Mr. T. J. Bennett was connected with the paper it maintained a high position in the city and was much esteemed as a sober and progressive organ of public opinion. But after Mr. Bennett left to become the editor and propriter of The Times of India circumstances were less happy. Mr. Grattan Geary spent most of his time in his house at Lonavla and his incursions into Bombay were designed to father lost causes rather than seriously to assist in the conduct of the paper. The intermingling of the duties of the editor with those of the manager, a legacy from more leisured days, imposed an impossible burden on the editor. Against these conditions Plinston struggled with unfailing cheerfulness and kept his end up, to use a colloquiqalism, with no little ability. His generation has a far past -- that there are few living today who remember him as one of the bright elements in our society, a member of the Light Horse, a participant in the mounted sports, and a welcome guest in any society, both for his pleasant humour and his singing -- he had a good tenor voice.
When Mr. Geary died. his widow and Plinston conducted the paper for some years, and from 1906, when the The Bombay Gazette passed into the hands of a syndicate formed in Bombay, up to the demise of the paper in 1914 Plinston continued to edit it. As Editor he suffered, we fancy, from the fact that his proprietors were not able to finance the paper to the requisite extent and from the fact that much of the business management, for which he was not fitted by training or experience, fell on his shoulders. In these discouraging circumstances it was not unnatural that Plinston -- who never had a sufficient staff to back him -- should fail to make the paper a great success, and long years of residence in India, interrupted by very scanty periods of leave, naturally diminished his mental activity. At his best, however, Plinston was a very capable writer and he had a gift for cheery sarcasm -- often at the expense of ourselves -- which was decidedly effective. But however violently he controverted the views of this paper which were generally repugnant one of his Tory ways of thinking, he always remained our very good friend. The senior members of our staff, both English and Indian, lose in "Pa Plinston" a friend who had shown them much kindness and one who, beneath the curious mannerisms of his latter years, concealed a character full of good nature and affection.
In 1914 Plinston was appointed honorary secretary and subsequently secretary of the Yacht Club, and, except for the occasional letters to up-country papers, he then abandoned jouralism. His interests in Bombay were not many. For some years he was an honorary magistrate and during the diturbances of 1918 he readily gave his services as a special magistrate. He served also for a considerable time on the Committee of the Royal Alfred Sailor's Home and on the Committee of the Colaba Lunatic Asylum. He was a director of Marcks and Co. and Chairman of the Empire of India Life Insurance Company.
To his widow, a daughter of the late J. T. Wright of Lincoln, now a resident in England, and his sons we extend our dep sympathy.
The funeral of Mr. Plinston took place on Tuesday evening at Sewri when the Archdeacon of Bombay officiated and there was a large attendance. Among thos present were:- Sir Lawless Hepper, Sir Robert and Lady Aitken, Mr. and Mrs. Fosbery, Mr. and Mrs. C. F. Stevens, Col. Claridge, Col. Houston, Col. Bishop, Major Ward, Major Watson, Dr. Faulkner, Messers. Gorrie, Hudson, Rumboll, Greacves, Needham, Hebblethwaite, Annesley, Maughan, Wittet, Hardie, Baird, Volkart, Kirke-Smith, Webb, Stephanos, Weber, Mackenzie, McNeill and Forbes-Smith. The Editorial stff of The Times of India was represented by Sir Stanley Reed, Mr. Sheppard, and Mr. Naoroji Dumasia. Mr. Rebello and other members of the Yacht Club staff acted as pall-bearers.