Lance Corporal George Shann

Biography of Lance Corporal George Shann

George Shann was born in Knaresborough, Yorkshire, on the 28th of October, 1876. His father, George, worked as a Mill-hand, and from the age of ten the younger George also worked half-time in a spinning mill. George spent his spare time studying, and went on to win a scholarship to the Bradford Technical College. In 1896, George was awarded a prize scholarship to the University of Aberdeen, taking classes in English, Mathematics, and Latin. After two years, Shann moved to the University of Glasgow, transferring credits from his studies at the University of Aberdeen. In 1898-9, George’s his first session at the University of Glasgow, George enrolled in senior classes in Latin and Greek. He resided in Partickhill. George performed well at University, and worked as a warden at the Glasgow University Students’ Settlement, a collective which was established to promote the welfare of the poor in Glasgow. In his final years at University, George focussed on Political Economy and Moral Philosophy, graduating with an MA with First Class Honours on the 23rd of April, 1901.

Upon graduating, George moved back down to England, where he began lecturing at the University of Birmingham, as well as at the Quaker-run Woodbrooke Settlement. He was subsequently elected as a Labour Party member of King’s Norton Urban District Council, and his role in campaigning against sweatshops led to him becoming the first secretary of the National Anti-Sweating League. In 1906, Shann contributed to a book entitled Women’s Work and Wages, and in 1907 he co-authored a study on sweatshop labour entitled Sweating. George joined the Worker’s Union and the Independent Labour Party, and in 1911 he became the Labour and ILP group secretary for Birmingham City Council.

In 1915, George left Birmingham City Council to serve in WW1, and joined the Army Service Corps Mechanical Transport Company. He was selected as an alderman by Birmingham City Council, but was unable to take part in Council business as he was serving overseas. Upon his return from war service, George stood in the 1918 General Election as a candidate for Birmingham Yardley, where he came in second place. Not long after, George became ill with ‘Influenza and Meningitis’, as recorded on his Roll of Honour card (Ch 4/4/2/3/875). Lance Corporal George Shann died on the 2nd of January 1919. He was survived by his widow, Mary A. Shann.


Lance Corporal George Shann
Rank: Lance Corporal
Regiment: Royal Army Service Corps
Degree: MA
Awards: N/A
Comments: Died on service 2 January 1919
Note/Press Clipping: Ch 4/4/2/3/875
Photo ID: Ch 4/4/2/2/259


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