What First World War story lies behind this 1916 Easter newspaper clipping?
On Monday 24 April 1916 the Hull Daily Mail published a report of the Easter bank holiday celebrations in Hull, which were largely cold and rainy.
Near the end of the report is a short mention of a Private George Newman, who served with the East Yorkshire Regiment. A transcript is below.
“Soldier recovers speech”
“E. YORKS SOLDIER RECOVERS SPEECH
Private George Newman, of the 8th East Yorkshires, recovered his speech in the excitement of seeing Crystal Palace score their winning goal against Clapton Orient on Saturday.”
Looking for the life story behind the words
The most logical reason why Private Newman could not speak before this dramatic moment, though it is not mentioned in the report, is probably linked to shell shock. Mutism was a common symptom of severe shell shock suffered by soldiers during the First World War.
Mutism was a common symptom of severe shell shock
Perhaps Private Newman’s military records might confirm part of this story. There is certainly a Medal Index Card for a Private George Newman of the East Yorkshire Regiment.
The public launch of Lives of the First World War might well present an opportunity for us to find out more about who he was, and his war experiences.
The story is only a snippet, and may have been exaggerated for dramatic effect – there is no knowing whether it really was the goal scoring moment that triggered George finding he could use his voice again.
Discovering more about George Newman
But perhaps there are people out there who know more about George, or who have heard this story as a family anecdote.
- Was he a big fan of football?
- How old was he?
- Did he have any children?
- Did he continue to struggle with mutism or shell shock?
Perhaps you know more, and when Lives of the First World War launches this summer, you could share your knowledge with the world.