George Fawcett Pitts Abbott GC (AM non-exchanger)

b. 18/09/1897 Nelson, Lancashire. d. 10/06/1977 Higham, Lancashire.

DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 14/09/1917 Hornsea Island, Portsmouth.

George Fawcett Pitts Abbott (1897-1977) was born on 18th September 1897 in Nelson, Lancashire. He attended Whitefield School as a child, and there was for a time a portrait which hung of him which is now missing sadly. On leaving school, Abbott went to work for Schofield & Preston & Co Ltd where he was a warp-dresser. He became a founder member of the Warp Dresser’s Club. He enlisted with the Royal Naval Reserve (Trawler Section) during the First World War, and was awarded the Albert Medal for his actions on 14th September 1917 on Hornsea Island.

George F P Abbott GC

On the 14th September 1917, a seaplane collided with a Poulsen mast and remained wedged in it, the pilot (Acting Flight Commander E A De Ville) being knocked unconscious and thrown out of his seat onto one of the wings. At this point, Deckhand Abbott, Ordinary Seaman Richard Knowlton and Seaman Nicholas Rath climbed up the mast for 100 feet, when Rath, making use of the boatswain’s chair, which moves inside of the mast, was hoisted up by men at the foot of the mast to the place, over 300 feet above the ground, where the seaplane was fixed. He then climbed out on the plane, and held the pilot until the arrival of Knowlton and Abbott, who passed the masthead gantline out to him. Having secured De Ville with the gantline Rath, with the help of Knowlton and Abbott, lifted him from the plane to the inside of the mast and lowered him to the ground.

Nicholas Rath was awarded the Albert Medal in Gold on 14th December 1917. At the same time both George Abbott and Richard Knowlton were awarded the Albert Medal in Bronze. He was invested with the AM on 16th February 1918 at Buckingham Palace. After the war, Abbott married Alice Emily Harris and they lived in Railway Street, Nelson. During the inter-war years, the family moved to Coventry, where they had a daughter, Ruth.

During World War II, Abbott and both his wife and daughter worked in a munitions factory in Coventry. After the end of the war, the family moved to Northfleet, Kent where George opened a fish and chip shop. In 1961, the family returned to Nelson where George ran a grocery business fo about 5 years before he retired. In retirement, he enjoyed a bet on the horses, walking and a pint of Guinness. In 1971, following the change in the Royal Warrant, the opportunity to exchange Albert and Edward Medals was given. George declined the chance to exchange.

George died on 10th June 1977 in hospital in Higham, Lancashire. He was cremated at Burnley Crematorium, and his ashes were scattered in Downham Churchyard. George’s medals including AM, British War Medal 1914-20, Victory Medal 1914-19 and the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal 1977 were given away by his daughter Ruth to a friend and their location is now not known.