George Herbert Plinston


George Herbert Plinston was born 26 February 1885 in West Hartlepool, county Durham. He went to Bombay, India in 1887 and lived there until about 1897 when he went to school in St. Severne, near St. Malo, in France. From there he went to Dollar Academy in Scotland. In 1901 or 1902 he went to a "cramming course" in Edinburgh, in preparation for an Army entrance exam.

George was first commissioned in 1902 as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 5th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. The Regiment was sent to India in 1904, and George transferred to the 31st Duke of Connaught's Own Lancers, Indian Army.

He married Annie Natalie Neumann on 17 October 1911 at Christ Church Mayfair. They met when she had been visiting her brother Bill. He too was in the Indian Army as an officer of Engineers.

In 1912 he went to an infantry regiment, the 11th Rajputs, probably as life in a cavalry regiment was expensive. On 11 November 1913 George Hugo Formby (Hugo) was born in Teignmouth, England and stayed with his grandparents when George and Natalie returned to India just before the start of the Great War.

In 1915 he went to Mesopotamia (Iraq) with his regiment. He saw action there and was mentioned in Despatches by General Nixon. However, he became ill and was invalided back to India in 1916. From 1917 to 1922 he served as a staff officer at the Army Headquarters in Bangalore.

Iris Natalie on 11 June 1917, in Simia, a town in the hills where many Army and civilian wives went during the hot season before the monsoon rains.

Frank Anthony (Tony) was born 29 April 1919 in Dawlish, just east of Teignmouth. No doubt George and natalie were on home leave after the Armistice.

G.H. Plinston as a schoolboy in France. Fanny Plinston (George's mother),
G.H. Plinston,
Lucy Emma Wright (Fanny's sister),
Lucy Emma Wright, nee. Musgrove (Fanny's mother),
5th Battalion, the Royal Warwickshire Regiment,
George Herbert Plinston, Gent., to be Second Lieutenant.
Dated 26th February, 1902
Second Lieutenants to be Lieutenants.
Dated 4th September, 1906.
George Herbert Plinston, 31st Duke of Connaught's Own Lancers.
Lieutenants to be Captains.
Dated 4th June, 1913.
George Herbert Plinston, 11th Rajputs.
George Herbert Plinston, 2nd Lieutenant, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Soon after arriving in India, 1904.

Lonsdale and Natalie Neumann.

India about 1910, Natalie with
her brother Bill and his wife Olive.

Natalie Plinston

Natalie with Hugo
about 1913.

Natalie, Tony, Hugo, Iris.

George and Natalie Plinston and the trophies they won at the Bangalore Horse Show, Christmas 1918.
In 1922 he was posted to HQ British Forces, Aden as GS02, and remained there for the rest of his service. George retired from the Army in 1926 with the rank of Major. He had decided that further promotion was unlikely, and that visiting his children every year or so would be very expensive. On retirement and with a reduced income, George and Natalie decided to live in France which, in those days, was much less expensive to live in than England. They rented a flat in Marseilles at first and then the Villa Madeleine in St Raphael on the French Riviera. Iris and Tony went out during school holidays, and sometimes Hugo joined them but not all holidays. He stayed with his grandparents in Teignmouth for much of the time. While the parents were in the flat, Tony and Iris went to places in Northern France such as Rothenouef and St. Valery en Caux.

After the depression in 1929, living expenses went up everywhere but more so in France. In 1934 they returned to England and bought a house called 'Bende' in Ringwood on the western edge of the New Forest. This house was on the usual small plot with a small lawn in front and a larger kitchen garden at the back. They extended the area by buying the vacant section in front with its fruit trees, and then the adjoining section alongside the house developing a formal garden.

In 1939, George was called up by the Army. After various attachments he went to France in command of a battalion of Pioneers. In May 1940, they were evacuated back to England through Calais without serious incident. He was then posted up to Yorkshire and made 2nd in Command of a new battalion of the Green Howards. In 1940, he was deemed too old for overseas service and was seconded to HQ with 8 Group, Bomber Command as advisor on airfield defence. In 1943, he became unfit and was invalided out of the Army with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. He died in June 1946.

George's widow, Natalie, sold Bende later that year having decided to return to South Africa where she had been born in Natal, and had relatives there. Iris returned with her and they left for cape Town in May 1948.

They built a house in Fishhoek, a seaside town on the eastern side of cape Town. They visited Tony and his family in New Zealand from January to May 1961 and visited Fiji durin June.

Natalie died on 16 October 1963.

G.H.Plinston with son Tony
and Grandmother Jane Neumann nee. Swift.

Major G.H.Plinston
1939 France
York & Lancs Regmt.

Lt.Col G.H.Plinston
Green Howards, 1942