Born: 9 July 1898
Family: The only child of Frank Thurman and Mary E Coleman. He married Frances Hawley in Liverpool in 1920 and together they had two girls, Janet B and Rhea F.
Residence: Although George was born in Aston, Birmingham, Warwickshire, three years later the family were residing in Bilston Road, Wolverhampton. By 1911 they had moved to Market Drayton, Shropshire. According to school records George and his parents were living at the Brewery House in Whitchurch, Shropshire by the start of the 1912 autumn term. His address in 1919 was 55 Wrexham Road, Whitchurch but two years later he was presumably in Derby where his two daughters were born. In August 1925 the family sailed to Quebec, Canada where George became a farmer.
Employment: George left school in February 1914 and was articled to a local auctioneer, F Lloyd. RAF details give his occupation as farming, working for a local farmer from 1912 to 1914. However, at this point he had changed his date of birth to 9th July 1894 i.e added four years to his age (see military other information).
Died: In 1989 in Manitoba, Canada, aged 91.
Regiment: Royal Air Force (previously Royal Flying Corps, King’s Shropshire Light Infantry and Shropshire Yeomanry)
Rank: Flight Lieutenant (previously Private)
Service Number: As an officer in the RAF and RFC he did not have a service number. When serving in the KSLI his number was 230295 and in the Shropshire Yeomanry 1969.
Date of Enlistment: August 1914
Date of Discharge: After 28 January 1919
Reason for Discharge: Demobilisation
Other Information: From Sharon Blais, great grand-daughter who lives in Canada:
“George David Thurman Coleman was a pilot for sure. Flight Lieutenant Coleman, He had a little accident while taking Flight training at Abourkir, Egypt (near Alexandria). The aircraft was a Avro. I have a picture out of newspaper in honour of Veterans day in Steinbach, Manitoba where he lived till he passed away. Which is based on an interview they did with George. And the paper says that he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps in 1916.
In 1914 George David Coleman Thurman showed up at the recruiting office to join the cavalry regiment aged 16. He was told to talk a walk around the block. Maybe you’ll be a littler older when you come back. Half hour later he joined the Shropshire Yeomanry”.
Official government policy was that you had to be 18 to sign up and 19 to fight overseas. In the early twentieth century most people didn’t have birth certificates, so it was easy to lie about your age.