Lance Corporal Peter George James Messenger
Coldstream Guards

Town Memorial WWII Panel

Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense

Rank: Lance Corporal
Regiment: Coldstream Guards
Date of Death: 03/06/1941
Service No: 2662241
Grave/Memorial Reference: South of Church. [local grave no. 1836]

Also his son
Peter George James Messenger
Died June 3rd 1941
Aged 26 Years

Memory of
Killed on
Active Service
June 3rd 1941

His death and funeral were covered in this newspaper article located in the British Newspaper Archive. When it was scanned for that Archive part of the article was out of frame and so what follows is incomplete and the [inferred text] may be inaccurate: 

Surrey Advertiser
Saturday 14 June 1941

[Killed] as a result of a mishap [during hi]s duties in Hertfordshire, [George Ja]mes Messenger, Cold-[streams Guards, only] son of Mrs. Messenger [and the late G]eorge Messenger, of 22, Gravel Hill, Leather]head, was buried at [the Parish] Churchyard on Wed-[nesday.]

[He was ca]lled up about a year [ago. George Messe]nger lived in Leather-[head and was a wel]l-known footballer. He ... Electricity Authority, worked, ... and later Fet-[cham. He] was 26, unmarried, and [was educated at] Leatherhead Central [School].
[Military honours] were accorded at the [funeral] conducted by the Vicar [(Rev GHB Coleridge). A military ... Union Jack-draped coffin, ... [sound]ed the Last Post. The [mourners include]d Mrs. Messenger Mrs. Dodman and Mr. ... brothers-in-law and sis ... [Mi]ss Freeman, Mrs. White- ... es (aunts). Miss Hayes ... Joyce Hill (friend), ...s from Fetcham Old ... es of the J.E.A., and ... the Coldstream Guards.

The UK Army Roll of Honour adds that he had enlisted into the Foot Guards.

His life

He was born on 12 March 1915 and baptised at St Mary & St Nicholas, Leatherhead Parish Church on 13 June 1915. He was therefore 26 when he died. His death was registered at Barnet, Middlesex in July 1941 (Vol 3a, p 1112) although the newspaper article says he died in Hertfordshire.  

His father was another George James, born in 1882 in Lambeth, London and died in 1919 in Leatherhead, Surrey, aged 39. It is believed that he saw service in the Army in WW1.
His mother was Annie née Freeman, born in about 1889 in Brockham, Surrey,. She died a year after her son on April 12 1942.
George and Annie were married at St Peter's, Walworth on 8 October 1911. He was described as a Laundryman and she as a Laundress

As shown above, they are buried with their son in Leatherhead Parish Churchyard. 

They had two daughters:
Lily, born 1912 in London. She appears in the family household in some of the 1930s Electoral Registers;
Matilda Annie, born 1917, died Guildford 2003, who had a daughter born in Ashtead, Jennifer A Street (1938-2016).

As stated in the newspaper article he had been at Leatherhead Central School, was a well-known local footballer and worked for one of the electricity companies. Some clues as to Fetcham Old and JEA come from the late Goff Powell (Potted History No.89: Fetcham Football Club):

"Very little is known about the early years of Fetcham Football Club, however, the History of Fetcham tells us that the club was founded in 1926 and that they played at Cock Lane. I can only assume they played in the Dorking & District League. Several of the players seemed to move back and forth between the local clubs namely Leatherhead Rose, Leatherhead United and possibly works side Leatherhead JEA*. Maybe that is the reason the Club later became known as Fetcham Old Boys, who by the late 1930s were playing in the Sutton & District League. In Season 1939/40 the Old Boys won the Leatherhead Hospital Shield beating Leatherhead Rose 7-4 (aet), emulating the above. The name Old Boys was to continue for many seasons after WWII - before reverting to Fetcham FC who competed in various Intermediate Leagues."

* JEA = Joint Electricity Authority

The 1937 and 1938  Electoral Registers show that he and his mother were living at 22 Gravel Hill, Leatherhead, very close to the Town War Memorial.

In 1938 Lily Messenger was also listed there. She also appears in 1936 when they were living at 1 Sturgess Cottages (Top Row), Lower Fairfield Road. This is where his father was listed in the 1918 and 1919 Electoral Registers.

The 1939 England & Wales Register does not list Lily at 22 Gravel Hill, just George (who is described as 'Electrical Mains - Labourer') and his mother.

Peter George James Messenger is remembered on the following Memorials:
Leatherhead RBL Roll of Honour
Leatherhead Town Memorial


Coldstream Guards today

the website editor would like to add further information on this casualty
e.g. a photo of him , the circumstances of his death
and of any recollections within his family.

last updated 9 Aug 2004: 12 Feb 14: CWGC links updated 7 Nov 17: content 13 Jun 20