Stanstead Abbotts

Local History Society

Born in Japan in October1892, where his father Rev.BarclayFowell Buxton was a missionary.  George came to England via New York on the SS Majestic in August 1898, landing at Liverpool together with his father, mother Margaret and brothers Murray and Alfred. He was educated at Repton School.   In 1911 they were living at Widbury House, Ware, where George is shown working as a bank clerk, he also now has a sister Rachel Jane.  In 1912 George left home and went to Africa where he was working as assistant manager at the East Africa Industries agricultural estate in Maseno in Kenya. His letters home showed that he enjoyed his work, but being a deeply religious man he decided in 1914 to become a missionary and join his elder brother Alfred in the Belgian Congo.

However, before he could leavethe War had broken out and George joined the Kings African Rifles as a scout. He took part in a number of scouting missions between August and October 1914 along the Kenyan border and then returned to the estate at Maseno. He began to think about his future unsure whether to work on the estate, join his brother in the Congo or return to England and volunteer for military service.  In July 1915 he returned to England and after being commissioned as 2nd Lt. in the 5th Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment, after training at Tring, he joined the Regiment on active service. In January 1916 he was posted to Egypt with the regiment.  He was not happy with life in the Army, being deeply religious it was difficult for him to fit in with life in the officers’ mess.  He only served with them for a matter of weeks before he was appointed as an aide to Major-General Sir Stuart Hare.  For 9 months he served on the staff with Major-General Hare, but was unhappy in the post.

Hearing of the need for trained pilots he applied for transfer to the Royal Flying Corps in January 1917.  He was posted to flying school in Abbassia, Egypt in March 1917 where he completed a three week course in flying theory and was then posted to Ismailia for flying training.  He returned to England in May and by July had qualified as a pilot in scout aircraft or fighters as we know them now after training in Lincolnshire in aerial gunnery.  He was ordered at once to 1 Squadron stationed at Bailleul in France.  He described this as “knowing the chance of my life has come”.  On one of his first patrols he was not wounded but he describes his plane as being riddled with bullets.  On the day he was reported missing he was last seen heading east chasing 4 German aircraft having already shot one down.

According to probate records he was living at Ponsbourne Manor House and he left £761.15s.1d. to his father the Reverend Barclay Fowell Buxton.Both his older brothers’ fought and won the Military Cross during the war and both of them were killed in an air raid in 1940 when they were together in Church House Westminster.

Of the many tributes to George perhaps the one he would have appreciated most came from an officer with whom he had served in Egypt. "When many grew cold and careless about spiritual things under the awful conditions of Army life dear George stood steadfast."

His body was never recovered and he is commemorated on the Arras Flying Services memorial.

Medals Awarded: British War Medal, Victory Medal, 1915 Star

George Barclay BUXTON

2nd Lieutenant

No.1 Squadron Royal Flying Corps

Formerly 5th Battalion Norfolk Regiment

Missing in Action 28th July 1917 aged 24