About George William Bathe
As a boy of 14, George William Bathe stole his father's wages one week. It was not the first time he had stolen from his parents, who clearly decided enough was enough and had him prosecuted at Maidstone Quarter Sessions, where he was sentenced to 1 month's hard labour and four years in a Reformatory. After he had served his term at the Redhill Farm School, George emigrated to Natal aboard the brig Lord Clarendon arriving on 2 February 1866. He worked on a sheep farm and then a tobacco plantation before enlisting in the 2nd Battalion, 24th Foot - the regiment then stationed at Fort Napier, Pietermaritzburg - a little over two years after he arrived in Natal. George returned to the UK with his regiment in 1872, transferred to the Army Service Corps, and was one of about 50 members of the Corps who went to West Africa in support of the troops fighting in the Ashantee War of 1873/4. During this campaign, he sustained an injury which meant he was invalided out of the army at the end of 1874. He married shortly afterwards and had a number of jobs but was out of work at the beginning of 1881, just before the birth of his fourth child, He applied for a job at the Redhill Farm School, and, with his army experience, was appointed drillmaster, a position he held until 1886. His next two children were born at the School. The family went to live in Sydenham, south London, and George worked as a tinsmith for the Crystal Palace District Gas Company for the rest of his working life.