9th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (British Army)
George was a son of Elizabeth Bleakes of North Street, Stewartstown. He was born in Dungannon about 1878. He enlisted in Cookstown with the 9th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. George Bleakes died on 1st August 1918. George Bleakes was almost certainly a prisoner of war and most likely captured during the German Offensive of 1918. He is interred in Glageon Cemetery and lies in Row J, Grave 7. The Surname ‘Bleakes’, is more commonly spelt as ‘Bleeks’. It is not known which way the family spelled the name but records show it spelt in both forms.
George Bleeks was the second son of James and Elizabeth Bleeks. James Bleeks married Bessy McKnight 14th March 1876 in the district of Cookstown, most likely in Stewartstown.
The surname is spelt Bleakes in all military documentation. It is spelt Bleeks in all family documentation.
George Bleeks was born on 23rd April 1879 in Stewartstown. He was one of at least ten children.
Known family: James Bleeks, Elizabeth Bleeks, John Bleeks (born 7th April 1877), George Bleeks (born 23rd April 1879), Catherine Bleeks (born 7th December 1883), James Bleeks (born 14th July 1886), Robert Bleeks (born 5th August 1888), William Bleeks (born 28th August 1890), Anne Bleeks (born 21st September 1892), Jarvis Bleeks (born 12th January 1895), Margaret Bleeks (born 4th January 1897), Henry Bleeks (born 21st January 1899).
The 1901 census lists George as age 20, living with the family at house 3 in Glebe, Stewartstown. Both George and his father were farm labourers.
It seems that his father died on 16th October 1906 in Stewartstown, aged 63.
No record can be found of the family in the 1911 census and it is suspected the family had split up by that time.
George Bleakes enlisted in Cookstown with the 9th Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.
Private Bleakes was wounded at the Battle of the Somme in July 1916.
From the Tyrone Courier dated 20 July 1916:
Private G Bleekes, Stewartstown, and E Bowen, Derrylee, Inniskillings, are reported wounded.
Private George Bleakes was taken prisoner during the German Offensive in March 1918. According to Prisoner of War records, He was captured on 27th March 1918.
Private George Bleakes died a German Prisoner of War on 1st August 1918.
Private George Bleakes is interred in Glageon Cemetery, about 56 kilometres east of Cambrai.
Private George Bleakes is commemorated on Stewartstown Cenotaph and Donaghendry Church of Ireland Roll of Honour.
The CWGC record Private George Bleakes as the son of Mrs Elizabeth Bleakes of North Street, Stewartstown, County Tyrone.