George Esmond HAGGIE (1890–1917)
© Radley College
George Esmond Haggie was born in Sunderland in 1890, the son of George Alfred Haggie (born in Gateshead in 1852) and Ada Elizabeth E. Rogers (born in Margate in 1864). His parents were married in the Wandsworth registration district in the second quarter of 1884, and they had five children:
- Gladys Mary Haggie (born in Sunderland in 1885/6, registered first quarter of 1886)
- Irene Ada Haggie (born in Sunderland in 1888, registered second quarter)
- George Esmond Haggie (born in Sunderland on 7 June 1890)
- Elaine Haggie (born in Sunderland in 1894)
- Beryl Kathleen Haggie (born in Sunderland on 27 January 1898).
The 1891 census shows the family (including George, aged 10 months) living at 7 Elms, Bishop Wearmouth, Sunderland, but George’s father, a rope manufacturer, was not at home: he was staying at the Hotel Metropole, King’s Road, Brighton with his parents. The family had four servants (a housemaid, nurse, cook, and monthly nurse).
By the time of the 1901 census George’s father (48) had already retired and the family was living at Link End, Gualford, Worcestershire with five servants (a butler, cook, housemaid, kitchen maid, and nurse). George, now ten years old, was boarding at a private school called St Lawrence in Hastings Road, Bexhill, and two of his sisters were also away at school: Gladys (15) at Heathfield School in Winkfield, Bracknell, and Irene (13) at the Hollies Private School in Great Malvern.
Kelly’s Directory shows that by 1904 the Haggies had moved to Brumcombe on Foxcombe Hill (previously occupied by the Green family, whose son was also killed in the First World War). In that same year George entered Radley College. He took part in scouting activities at Youlbury on Boars Hill (where a Scout Camp was to be founded in 1913). In 1908 Brumcombe suffered a serious fire.
George went up to Magdalen College, Oxford in 1909. The 1911 census shows George’s family at Brumcombe with six servants (a housekeeper, butler, cook, lady’s maid, kitchen maid, and housemaid). George, now 20 and described as an undergraduate, was at home with his family during the Easter vacation. Despite the family’s obvious affluence, however, George’s sister Gladys (25) was working as a governess in Eastbourne. Irene (23) was a medical gymnastic student at St Stephen’s, 106 Cromwell Road, Kensington.
George was articled to an Oxford firm of solicitors after graduating. His mother died at Brumcombe on 4 May 1914 at the age of 49 and was buried at Sunningwell Church.
In the First World War George Esmond Haggie enlisted in the Durham Light Infantry in March 1916 (before conscription) and served as a Private with the Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders from June 1917 (Service No. 235467). >He was then gazetted 2nd Lieutenant of the 9th (Service) Battalion of the Princess of Wales’s Own (Yorkshire) Regiment. He was killed in action in Flanders at the age of 27 on 2 October 1917.
Haggie has no known grave, but is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial (Panel 52 to 54 and 162A): image below kindly supplied by the British War Graves project:
The Haggie family grave in Sunningwell churchyard (right) has the following words on one of the four panels under the cross:
ALSO THEIR SON
OCT 2ND 1917
AGED 27 YEARS
Haggie is also listed on the war memorials in St Leonard’s Church at Sunningwell (which curiously states that he was a Corporal in the 2/7 Battalion); at Magdalen College, Oxford; at Radley College; and at Youlbury Scout Camp (left).
George Edmund Haggie’s father
George Alfred Haggie (65) died at Brumcombe on 17 January 1918, just four months after his son’s death, and was buried in Sunningwell churchyard on 21 January 1918.
None of his four sisters married, and at least two of the Misses Haggie continued to live at Brumcombe until 1926:
- Gladys Haggie died at the age of 57 in 1943 (registered in Kensington district second quarter)
- Irene Ada Haggie died at the age of 39 at 127 Queen’s Gate, Kennington and was buried at Sunningwell churchyard on 2 September 1926
- Beryl Kathleen Haggie died at the age of 56 in the Poole district on 7 November 1954 and was buried at Sunningwell churchyard.
- Elaine Haggie dedicated a chapel to her parents at Sunningwell Church in 1956. She died in 1973 and was buried in the churchyard.
Brumcombe, the house where the Haggies lived from 1902, was put up for sale in 1926, presumably by George’s sisters. It was later known as Glynde House and then Sandridge. In 1939 it became the official residence of the Bishop of Oxford, and then in 1954 it was acquired by Plater College. In 1976 Warnborough College bought first Brumcombe, and then in 1978 the adjoining property Yatscombe; the college closed down in 1996.
Left: inscription in Sunningwell Church
- CWGC: Haggie, George Esmond
- Obituary of George Esmond Haggie in the Radleian of 27 October 1917
- Death announcements in The Times: George Haggie himself on 13 October 1917; his mother on 6 May 1914; and his father on 19 January 1918
- Sale details of Brumcombe in The Times of 18 September 1926
- Wikipedia: King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
- De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour 1914–1918: Entry for Haggie, with photograph (right)