George EADES

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George EADES

Quartermaster Sergeant George Eades
242 Battery, The Canadian Forestry Regiment

Born in Berkshire in 1870, Eades was a member of the 39th (Berkshire) Company of the Imperial Yeomanry, a volunteer cavalry regiment which was formed in 1899, during which time he served in the Boer War. At some point after this he must have emigrated to Canada, as his attestation, or enlistment, papers from 1916 record him as then resident in Ontario, where he was the manager for a lumber company. Appropriately to his occupation, Eades became a Quartermaster Sergeant for the Canadian Forestry Corps. Unfortunately he suffered a head injury, and loss of sight, in France in 1917 and was discharged from the Army the following year.

Eades had initially returned to Canada but in July 1918 he and five other returned Canadian soldiers came to St Dunstan’s Blinded Soldiers and Sailors Hostel in Regent’s Park for training and rehabilitation. During this time Eades became what the St Dunstan’s records describe as a ‘finished artiste’ in embroidery work, thus leading to him becoming involved in helping to create the St Paul’s altar frontal. He also took part in other activities at St Dunstan’s, such as passing his typewriting test, obtaining full marks in his poultry farming examination and qualifying in netting work, as well as coaching a tug of war team.

Another interesting fact is that the frontal book which was made to accompany the frontal also lists George Eades under two different hospitals, St Dunstan’s and Highfield Hall Red Cross Hospital, Southampton. It is not clear why Eades was at two different hospitals at this time, though it is clear that he continued working on his embroidery after having been transferred.

Soon after the war Eades returned to Canada. He undertook further study in poultry farming, made badges for sale, and then became a teacher for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), providing training in Braille, basket-making and netting.

Eades came back to his native Berkshire in 1922 and continued to make baskets in his own workshop, but very sadly contracted pneumonia and died in 1927.

Information courtesy of Rob Baker, Archivist, Blind Veterans UK.