SHOPKEEPERS have always been keen to use every means to advertise their business and this invoice of the 1890s period is a good example. 

Exaggeration knew no bounds when it came to advertising, so the height of the mounted riders and pedestrians are tiny in comparison to the shop itself.

The effect is impressive, but hopelessly out of proportion.

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George Moss Warr was at 20 High Street, familiar to older Andoverians as those of bookseller and newsagent W H Smith but which has for many years been the premises of C & M DIY, where it is possible to get practically anything.

As George Warr, it was short lived, though it was a draper’s shop before him and did continue as such after his departure, first as Frederick Reeve and then Cordery’s, until the late 1930s when W H Smith arrived.

The geographical movements of people from centuries past are often unfathomable and the ‘snapshots’ of births, marriages and deaths, together with those of the ten-yearly censuses only register where they were at that moment.

George and his future wife Mary Ann Beaumont Harrington were both born within 25 miles of each other in the West Country, the former in Crewkerne, the latter in Honiton, yet they married in Nottinghamshire in 1890 and we know that they had opened their shop in Andover by early 1891 because the first of their two sons, Stanley, was born here at the beginning of the year.

A second son, George Harrington Gerald, was born in 1895; curious by-the-by that he should be given three Christian names and the elder Stanley just one.

By 1898 the Warr family had gone and the shop taken over by draper and milliner Frederick John Reeve, and in 1901, we can find George Moss Warr at 8 Chapel Street, Grantham, having opened a draper’s shop there.

By 1911, he was listed as a commercial traveller at 74 Sackville Street, Barnsley, in Yorkshire.

Eventually, he was living in Lincoln where he died in 1934, outliving his wife Mary who died in 1932.

Of the two sons, Stanley went to America in 1912, aboard the St Louis, probably to work.

He may have missed the First World War but he was back in Barnsley by 1922 when he married Doris Saville.

The second son, George Harrington Gerald, joined the RAMC within a month of the war breaking out in 1914 and served throughout the conflict, only to die on 7 November 1918, just four days before the Armistice.

Despite tramping across the battlefields of France during four years of conflict, in the end he was a victim of the Spanish flu that reputedly claimed more lives than the war itself.

He is buried in the British and Commonwealth War Cemetery at Ligny St Flochel, in Averdoingt, one of 632 Commonwealth burials and 46 German ones.

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The area was the site of three casualty clearing stations between April and November 1918 and this small cemetery was designed by architect Sir Reginald Blomfield, who also designed the Menin Gate memorial near Ypres.

Was the name of George Harrington Gerald Warr ever considered for Andover’s cenotaph? Probably not.

As Craig Fisher describes in his excellent article on the monument in Lookback at Andover (2018), the vicar of St Mary’s, Revd Walter Smith, merely collected the names suggested to him and it is unlikely that anyone in post-war Andover would think of a departed family of over 20 years who had no local relatives.