George Rate, who was born in Wing, was one of the six sons of Joe and Kate Rate to fight in the First World War. George, who was born in Wing but living in Newcastle before the war, was the second eldest and the only one to die. Joe Snr (who was living in Nottinghamshire) and Bertie, Harry, Fred and Sydney (who were all in Oakham) were all serving in HM Forces at the same time. George was born on 15 May 1887 but at some stage moved to the north-east. He was in the service of E Riddle Blount, at Cheeseburn Grange in Newcastle-on-Tyne as a footman before enlisting on 13 September 1915. He trained at Hexham, and went to France on 7 March 1916. He was in several battles, but escaped being wounded, and was eventually transferred to the Lewis Gun Section, 12/13th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers. He was home on leave in Oakham in August 1917, and was killed about five weeks after returning to his battalion. A comrade, in a letter describing the attack that was being made at the time, says their company left the east side of Polygon Wood during the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) at 6am on 4 October to reach an objective about 1,500 yards away. They had nearly succeeded, when they sought the shelter of a shell hole to adjust or refill their gun. George Rate was the first to emerge from the shelter and was instantly shot down by a sniper and died immediately. The soldier who wrote this was wounded in the shoulder at the same time. He added that George was buried as decently as circumstances permitted. But his grave did not survive the war and today George is now remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 22, as well as on Oakham's war memorial. Of his five brothers who survived the war, Driver Sidney Rate was in service at Tresco, Isles of Scilly, at the outbreak of war. He joined his group under Lord Derby's scheme at Penzance, and was attached to the King's Royal Rifles on 24 January 1916. He was wounded by shrapnel and sent to Rochdale to recover before being sent to Mesopotamia [Iraq] in January 1918. His family lost track of him at this stage but it turned out he survived the war and died in his eighties in Hampshire.
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