Ruddick photo

George Reuben Ruddick 

Canadian Infantry
24th Battalion
Private 65860
Died 21st July 1917

George Ruddick's Parents

George Ruddick was the son of Charles and Julia Ruddick (née Westcott).

Charles (or ‘Charley’) Ruddick was in turn the son of a certain Reuben Ruddick, who at various times was listed as a coal haulier, an ostler and a farmer of a smallholding. Charley grew up in the Rush Hill and Odd Down area; the wider Ruddick family seems to have been something of a fixture here. The 1881 census shows Charley still living with his parents at the age of 26 in a cottage at Rush Hill. An auction notice in the local newspaper six years later (1887) refers to the sale of items from the home of the ‘late Reuben Ruddick’ at Springfield House.

Sale of effects of reuben ruddick in 1887

A notice in the Bath newspaper of 1887, detaling the sale of effects of George Ruddick's late grandfather, Reuben. The Full Moon stood on the site now occupied by the bus station in Bath and was then at the northern end of the main bridge into the city centre from the south.

Springfield House is at XX Rush Hill and still bears the same name today.

Julia Westcott was the youngest of four children from a family who lived at ‘Crossway Cottage’ on Twerton Hill. The old name of ‘Twerton Hill’ relates to what we now know as the area along Whiteway Road, below Twerton Roundhill and at the top of the Hollow, where older cottages are still in evidence between later developments. It is not certain where Crossway Cottage stood, but the main ‘crossway’ in this area is where Englishcombe Lane crosses the main Rush Hill / Whiteway Road and continues down Padleigh Hill. It is therefore possible that a cottage stood near this crossroad. This would also have place the Westcott family very near to the area where the Ruddicks lived and the families would have been known to each other.

Julia’s father, Robert, was a brewer and worked at the Devonshire Arms, where, in 1869 (when Julia was just 7), he suffered an accident while at work:

Bath Chronicle & Weekly Gazette, 15th April 1869

FATAL ACCIDENT: On Tuesday evening the City Coroner held an inquest at the Guildhall on the body of Robert Westcott, 57 years of age, who died at the Royal United Hospital* the same morning. It seemed that on the 8th inst. deceased was engaged at the Devonshire Arms, brewing. Before going into the house to dinner, he went up a five or six step ladder to look into the copper where the wort was boiling, and from some unexplained cause fell to the ground. A plasterer named Eskett who was working on the premises went to his assistance and found that his head was injured. He was taken to the Hospital, where he was attended by J. Tremearne, the house surgeon, who found that he was suffering from a fracture of the shoulder blade, and a swelling on the right side of the head. On Saturday night, ‘delirium tremens’ came on, he got rapidly worse and died on Tuesday morning. Mr Tremearne said that the ‘delirium tremens’ produced in a man of intemperate habits by the injuries was the cause of death. Deceased’s son denied that his father was a man of intemperate habits, and one of the jurymen said deceased was not a man addicted to drink. In answer to the coroner, Mr Tremearne said it was difficult to distinguish between ordinary delirium and ‘delirium tremens’, but in the former case the pulse was weak while in the latter it was quick and full. Deceased exhibited those symptoms, and therefore he believed it was ‘delirium tremens’ that he suffered from. Mr Tremearne further said in a man of a delicate habit of body a small quantity of liquor would induce ‘delirium tremens’; he did not wish to imply that deceased was a drunken man. A verdict of “accidental death” was returned.

* (Note that the RUH was then in Beau Street).

In 1881 the Westcott family, with widowed mother Jane earning money as a laundress and Julia’s elder brother Robert (junior) working as a carpenter, were living in a pair of houses at ‘Upper Vale’. It is not known where 'Upper Vale' was. Lyncombe Vale is near the Devonshire Arms and so it is possible that the address was at the upper end of Lyncombe Vale.

The Ruddick Family

Charley and Julia married at St Mary, Bathwick, in 1887. They set up home in due course in what is now Englishcombe Lane. 

Ruddick family tree

The four Ruddick children were born at intervals between 1889 and 1895. A fifth child was born and died unnamed in 1897. From the Bath register of births, we know that George’s middle name was Reuben (same name as his grandfather) and indeed he appeared on the 1891 census as ‘Reuben G Ruddick’, so perhaps he was known as Reuben, at least for a time as a child.

In 1891, the family (with just the first two children) was living at Sladebrook Cottages (WHICH WERE THESE)? George’s father, Charles, was listed as a ‘general labourer’ and all the nearby neighbours were in similar trades as labourers, stone masons and bricklayers at that time.

In 1901 they were listed at Alma Cottage on Englishcombe Lane, where the family settled for several years. The name of this house is listed through the years variously as ‘Elma Cottage’ or ‘Alma Cottage' and later simply as ’47 Englishcombe Road’ (the portion in Twerton Parish leading to Rush Hill was called Englishcombe Road for a time, later reverting to ‘Englishcombe Lane’). George’s mother was listed as a ‘laundress’, bringing in some income in addition to his father who was working as a stone mason. Alma Cottage is no more and has been replaced by a pair of relatively modern houses.

Showing location of Alma Cottage, Englishcombe Lane

The location of the Ruddick family at Alma Cottage, Englishcombe Lane

Intriguingly, there is no sign of George’s younger sister Emma on the 1901 census. She would have been about 6. Checks show that she was not living with other family members. The Bath death register shows the death of a girl called Dorothy Ruddick in 1895 aged 0. The birth registers do not show the birth registration of a Dorothy Ruddick; it is therefore possible that this is a rare example of where a child’s name was changed (perhaps informally) by the parents after the registration of the birth and the subsequent death was then registered in the new name.

The 1911 census shows that George had followed his father into the stone masonry trade and that his eldest sister, Eva, was in service in a house called Caerbadon in Cleveland Walk, Bathwick, with the (appropriately-named) Stone family, whose head was a stone merchant called Alfred Stone. It is perhaps significant, in terms of later events, that Charley, George’s father, is listed in the 1911 census as ‘stone mason out of work’. Perhaps times became difficult for the family.

Sailing for Quebec

Two years later, in 1913, the passenger lists for the SS Royal George – a large steam ship that plied between Avonmouth and Quebec, operated by the Canadian Northern Railway Company – show that both Eva and George had chosen to seek their fortune in Canada. On 17th June 1913 they sailed from Avonmouth, arriving one week later on the 24th in Quebec City, then sailing on to Montreal to arrive the following day, the 25th June.

This 17th June voyage was a return to service for the SS Royal George, which had been damaged in November 1912 when stranded near Quebec and had spent some time in repairs in Halifax (Nova Scotia, Canada) prior to resuming its usual transatlantic route.

For Eva, this voyage to Canada was a one-way trip.

SS Royal George

This photograph of the SS Royal George and (foreground) sister ship SS Royal Edward was taken at Avonmouth, the port where Eva and George boarded their voyage for Canada in 1913. The photograph is known to date from the period after the Edward sustained damage in November 1912; it could even be the day George Ruddick embarked!

Passengers boarding SS Royal George

This image of the Royal George shows passengers boarding at Avonmouth and taking leave from loved ones, in a scene which Eva and George would have experienced in a very similar way.

Back at home in Bath in August of the following year (1914) the family suffered the death of father Charley. He died in the asylum in Wells; this was a ‘hospital’ for those with mental health conditions, such as depression. It is not clear whether there was a link between a possible mental health issue and his 'out of work' status in the 1911 census.

George Ruddick in WW1

Canadian Infantry

We know that George enlisted with the Canadian Infantry. His attestation papers survive and reveal a number of details, namely:

  • He enlisted on 27th October 1914 in Montreal
  • He was still unmarried and listed his mother in Bath (8 Hayes Place, Bear Flat / top of Holloway) as next-of-kin  
  • He was working as a labourer
  • He had grey eyes, brown hair and a fair complexion
  • He had a pear-shaped birthmark on his left hip (2" x 1 1/2") and two vaccination marks on his upper arm.

The SS Royal George and SS Royal Edward were used to transport the Canadian Expeditionary Force to England for a period, later being taken over as a British troop ship.
It is very much possible that George’s voyage into battle – and to his fate – in WW1 was made in the same ship in which he had emigrated just 15 months previously.

Both the SS Royal George and SS Royal Edward were pressed into service in the War effort, including the transport of troops to Gallipoli in July 1915. The SS Royal Edward was sunk by a German U-Boot in August 1915 while sailing to Mudras, with the loss of over 1,000 lives.

George served with the 24th Battalion of the Canadian Infantry, which was with the 5th Canadian Infantry Brigade. The diaries of the 24th Bn are online:


(More details pending).

George Ruddick's Death

To do.


[Need to look into which medals were awarded to Canadian soldiers].


Loos Cemetery

It appears that George Ruddick was originally buried in Corkscrew British Cemetery, which contained 168 British soliders and 38 from Canada. Burials were transferred to Loos Cemetery after the Armistice. The great majority of the soldiers buried here were killed in the Battle of Loos (1915). The cemetery was begun by Canadian forces.

Loos British Cemetery

Loos British Cemetery [Photo: www.ww1cemeteries.com]


Ruddick on S Twerton memorial

In addition to his commemoration on the South Twerton School memorial, George Ruddick is commemorated as follows:

Bath War Memorial

George Ruddick's listing on the Bath War Memorial bears the incorrect initials, if indeed the inscription is intended for George.

By the time the Bath War Memorial was erected, it is not certain that there were any family members alive in the Bath area (brother Robert is the only possible) and there may have been a mistake in the details put forward by someone else who suggested George for inclusion.

Ruddick on Bath Memorial

Canadian Book of Remembrance

George Ruddick is listed in the national Book of Remembrance.

Canadian Book of Remembrance page with GR listing

Montreal Roll of Honour

George Ruddick is listed on the Montreal Roll of Honour, which can be viewed online. 


The listing is not strictly alphabetical; George's name appears in the right-hand column of p87, about two thirds of the way down. This has him listed with 5th Royal Highlanders .Other references put him with 24th Bn of the Infantry. This may be cleared up by the explanation in this volume: "The (5th Royal Highland) Regiment has, in addition, supplied 7 officers and 410
men, or almost half, of the 24th Provisional Battalion Victoria Rifles of Canada", but more work needs to be done to establish the facts.

Montreal Roll of Honour cover
Montreal Roll of Honour pp87-88 with GR listing

Further Information

After the War  

George’s mother died in 1919 and the grave she shares with George’s father is on the very eastern edge of St James’ cemetery, on the Lower Bristol Road.

Ruddick parents grave
The grave of  George Ruddick's parents in St James's Cemetery. The inscription reads:

to the memory of
 Charles Ruddick
 who died August 28th 1914
aged 59 years.  

Also of Julia
beloved wife of the above
who died March 9th 1919
aged 54 years.

Peace, perfect peace

Living Relatives

It would be great to hear from any living relatives of George Ruddick

We know George's sister Eva emigrated to Canada with him in 1913. An Internet search has turned up a reference to the grave pictured below, bearing Eva's name and the correct date of birth. This shows that she married a Gilbert Bragg, but appears to have retained her surname. We don't know whether there are descendants in Canada. This grave is in Toronto and we do not know how soon after immigration Eva moved on from Montreal to Toronto.

Eva Ruddick grave Toronto

Brother Robert served in WW1 with the Marines and later married Minnie Amelia Russell in Bath in 1920. They had a son in Bath in 1921 (George Robert), but he died in infancy.

Please Get in Touch!

If you have any further information on George Ruddick, or want to suggest corrections  / improvements for this page, please use the Contact page to get in touch.

All additions and further information will be credited appropriately.


Many thanks to Mr David Carter for supplying the photograph of George Ruddick.