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Friday, 31 October 2014

#archiveselfie* George Brabazon Stafford

The Artist, by himself (George Brabazon Stafford) (D/DLI 7/662/2(55))
D/DLI 7/662/2(55) The Artist, by himself [George Brabazon Stafford]
George Brabazon Stafford was born in 1899 and educated at Dover College and Jesus College, Cambridge.  He joined the 3rd City of London Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps and in February 1915 was appointed to a temporary Second Lieutenancy with the 16th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry.

The 16th Battalion was based at Darlington then at Rugely, Staffordshire.  In July 1917 Second Lieutenant Stafford went out to France serving with 18th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry.  He was wounded in the knee in March 1918 and continued to serve with the Durham Light Infantry at home with the 3rd Battalion, garrisoned at South Shields

Pencil drawing of the head of an unidentified officer, 'the Judge Advocate', at an unidentified court martial, c.1918 (D/DLI 7/662/3(30))
D/DLI 7/662/3(30) Pencil drawing of the head of an unidentified officer, 'the Judge Advocate', at an unidentified court martial, c.1918

From our collection it seems that Second Lieutenant Stafford was a keen artist.  Many soldiers and officers would pass the time drawing and painting.  We hold a series of drawings from an unidentified court martial, possibly having taken place in 1918.  It is not clear from the style of the drawings whether they were done in an official capacity or not.  They are not caricature as some other drawings are but the fact that Stafford retained them suggests they were not an official record.  Although some identifying information is given, there is nothing provided for the accused, so it has not been possible to find out what this court martial might have been about.

Other drawings are more light-hearted in tone.  As well as the rather fantastic self portrait at the top*, it appears that Second Lieutenant Stafford and his friends played Consequences for a bit of fun. 

Outcome of a game of Consequences (D/DLI 7/662/2(105))
D/DLI 7/662/2(105) Outcome of a game of Consequences
After the war, George Stafford went on to found the Kingshott School at Hitchin in 1931, still in existence today, he was headmaster from its inception until his retirement in 1959.  He died in Surrey in 1966.

*This year’s Explore Your Archive campaign runs during the week of 10 November.  As part of the Twitter campaign, on 13 November, look out for the #archiveselfie hashtag.

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