1865 – 1944 George Curnow Millett

George Curnow Millett was born on 22nd September 1865 at Heston, the son of Charles Dewan and Frances Millett, in the borough of Hounslow, London.

In 1871, Age 5, George was living with his family at No. 5 Princes Villas, Twickenham. By age 15 in 1881 he had moved a short distance to 1, The Poplars, Hampton Road Twickenham.

George is recorded in his application to become a member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers as being educated “… by the Rev. L.M. D’Orsay, Twickenham; the Rev. S. Martin, Twickenham; College Communal de Bologne (Universite de France); King’s College London; and private tutors 1888 – 90.” 1

As a 17-year-old in 1883, George started a 5-year apprenticeship working for his uncle, Henry Michell Millett.  George first worked as a clerk on the Lynn and Fakenham Railway’s Norwich extension (to Norwich City Station). He later worked on the Swedish–Norwegian Railway surveying and in the workshops and drawing office. 1

It appears that he was employed by the firm Wilkinson Jarvis for whom Henry Michell Millett was an engineer. This firm was responsible for the construction of much of the railways in North East Norfolk.

Having finished his apprenticeship, the annual census records George as living at his family home at 89 to 91 Westminster Bridge Road, London. He was now working as a Railway Contractors Clerk for William Eckersley, the engineer who had previously been in partnership with George’s uncle, Henry. He started working for Mr. Eckersley in 1890 until 1892 during which time he was involved with the Pirzus-Larissa Railway in Greece contract. It is not known if George got to soak up any Greek sun.

Between 1892 and March 1906 George worked for Messrs. B. Cooke and Co. and was in sole charge of several works, machinery, etc.: 1

  • Buckingham Waterworks  (All Buckingham’s water was gathered from public or private pumps until 1893 when a waterworks was built off Moreton Road. All of Buckingham was connected to the water supply by 1908) ;
  • Mortlake main drainage;
  • Dorking outfall works, filter beds and machinery;
  • Molseley main drainage; Cromer sea-wall and cliff works and drainage;
  • Fairham Asylum improvements and hot-water house;
  • Cromer Reservoirs, drainage extensions and approaches;
  • Sheringham main drainage and groynes; Bishop Stortford reservoir and cooling pond; 
  • Norwich main drainage works, pumping station, etc.;
  • Sheringham septic tanks (own design), and sea walls and promenade;
  • Cromer sea-wall extension and more drainage works and septic tanks for syndicate (C.S.); approach and sea defence works,
  • Sheringham syndicate (own design); Church-Sheltin impounding dam and reservoir, tunnel and tower and bridge;
  • Felixstowe sea-wall and grownes; Marine Drive, Scarborough (the past 2.5 years).
    Is now in private practice.

Membership in other Societies.
Major (2nd in command), 2nd London Rifles. The City of London Rifles (CLR) was a volunteer regiment of the British Army, originally raised as the ‘Printers’ Battalion’.

Between 1887 and 1909, George was a member of the United Grand Lodge of England Freemasons, Earl Roberts Lodge. 3

Married: In Marylebone 27 Dec 1899 (Saint Thomas, Saint Marylebone: Portman Square, Westminster, England) to Mary Eveline Geoghegan b. 1873 Saugor, Bombay, India, d. 22 Aug 1933 Nairobi. 3

Children:

  • Edith Mary (10 Sep 1902 Church Stretton);
  • John Curnow (28 Oct 1906 Fulham-1992);
  • Joan Marion (30 Nov 1907 Fulham);
  • Patrick Charles Curnow (18 Nov 1915 Nairobi)

War Service

  • WW1 with East African Mounted Rifles.
  • 10/8/14 – 13/8/14 – Lieutenant.
  • 10/8/14; to Town Guard
  • 1914 – 1920 Medals Received: British War Medal and Victory Medal.
  • LG No. 32417. Oct 1902 Rank Captain

The East African Mounted Rifles was a regiment of mounted infantry raised in the British Colony of Kenya for service in the East African Campaign of the First World War. Formed at the start of the war from volunteers, it was entirely white and drawn primarily from Boer settlers and members of the Legion of Frontiersmen. With horses in short supply, some men were mounted on polo ponies or mules.

The East African Mounted Rifles, around 400 strong, deployed to support the recapture of Kisii, Kenya, in September 1914. They also served in an attack on Longido in German Tanganyika in November. Further action on the frontier followed until April 1915, when the unit was posted on guard duty on the Uganda Railway. 4

Time Line & Residences:

George spent many years in East Africa, a place he loved and had close connections with.

  • 1871 Census – Age 5, Princes Villas, Twickenham.
  • 1881 Census – Age 15, 1 The Poplars, Twickenham.
  • 1891 Census – Age 25, 89 to 91 Westminster Bridge Road. Railway Contractors Clerk.
  • 1901 Census – Age 35, Married to Mary Eveline (Age 33, b. India), Boarding at Church Stretton with his wife.
  • 1910 Electoral Register – 1, Guion Road, Fulham.
  • 1911 Census – Age 45 – Fulham, Married to Mary Eveline (Age 33, b. India)
  • 18/2/1913 East African Industries Co. (Batstone, Jack, unpublished diary of Jack Batstone, 1913)
  • June 1926 Electoral Register.  Brick Manufacturer, 3rd Avenue, Parklands.
  • 26/8/1914 – Appt. – G.C. Millett, Volunteer Forces, East Africa Mounted Rifles, to be Lieutenant, to date August 10th 1914 – Note:- This officer has been transferred from East Africa Mounted Rifles to East Africa Regiment for duty with Town Guard, without pay, with effect from August 13th 1913
  • 1918 – Attended the 1918 Synod of the Diocese of Mombasa.
  • 12/11/1919 Register of Voters – Nairobi, North Area – George Curnow Millett – Brick Manufacturer, 3rd Avenue, Parklands. 2
  • 10/9/1920 There is a record of George arriving in the UK on 10 September 1920. Ports of voyage Dar-Es-Salaam; Zanzibar; Mombasa; Marseilles, on board the ship Nevasa of the British India Steam Navigation Company Ltd. With George was his family Mary Eveline, Edith Mary, John Curnow, Joan Curnow, and Patrick Charles.
  • 1933 George’s wife, Mary, died in Nairobi
  • 1935 -Working with the CMS Mission in Nairobi.  2
  • 1936 Voters List – George Curnow Millett, Brick Manufacturer, Mtama Rd., Nbi and Betty Curnow Millett, Civil Servant, Box 267, Nbi. 2
  • 7/1/1937 – Sailed from Southampton to Nairobi, Kenya (Lourenco Marques) aboard the shop Usaramo of the Deutsche Ost Afrika Linie.