b. 03/10/1895 Innellan, Argyllshire, Scotland. d. 01/12/1917 Gonnelieu, France.
George Henry Tatham Paton (1895-1917) was born at Innellan, Argyllshire on the 3rd October 1895. He was the only son of George William Paton and Henrietta Tatham Paton. His father was working for Messrs. Ross, Corbett & Co., Greenock when his son was born but later went on to become the Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Messrs Bryant and May Ltd, who had moved the family to Wolviston House, Whyteleafe, Surrey, and he was knighted in 1930. The couple had married in 1886 and also had one daughter named Agnes.
Paton was educated at Rottingdean School and at Clifton College, Bristol, and when nineteen he joined the Army in September 1914. He was gazetted Second Lieutenant in the 17th Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) making First Lieutenant on 3rd October 1915, and later transferred to the Grenadier Guards in January 1916 and was posted to the 4th Battalion on the 23rd July 1916, as a member of No.2 Company. He was involved in the fighting on The Somme in September and became Acting Captain on the 4th June 1917, being given command of No. 4 Company. On the first day of the Third Ypres battle, the Grenadier Guards dealt with cutting through barricades and obstructions in the trenches and used hand grenades and rifle grenades as weapons, for his part in this fighting Paton was awarded the Military Cross in August 1917.
On 1st December 1917 at Gonnelieu in France, Acting Captain Paton found his unit’s left flank exposed when another unit had been driven back by the enemy. He readjusted the line trench by trench whilst under enemy fire and he made contact with No. 3 Company who were without officers at this point in the battle. He rescued several wounded men and after four counter attacks by the enemy, was mortally wounded.
He is buried Metz-en-Couture Communal Cemetery, France and his VC was awarded posthumously to his parents who went to Buckingham Palace on the 2nd March 1918 to be presented with his medal by the King. Paton is commemorated on several memorials including the book of remembrance in St. Mary’s Church, Bow, where there is a plaque to his regiment, on the Dunoon Memorial, the memorial at Innellan and he is one of thirty names on the war memorial at Little Hallingbury, Essex.
Sir George Paton died as he returned from a holiday to the south of France in 1934, and was buried at Putney Vale Cemetery in the Paton family plot, and there is path in the cemetery named Paton’s Path. Paton’s medals which include the VC, MC, British War Medal and Victory Medal are held by the Grenadier Guards Museum, Wellington Barracks, London.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: GRENADIER GUARDS RHQ, LONDON.
BURIAL PLACE: METZ-EN-COUTURE COMMUNAL CEMETERY (BRITISH EXT), FRANCE.
Cemetery Plan courtesy of Kevin Brazier
PLOT II, ROW E, GRAVE 24
Family Grave - Putney Vale Cemetery
Dunoon War Memorial, Scotland