George Robert Aitken was born in 1894 at Nalloon Station, Taroom. George’s father is listed as Richard Aitken of the Cania Diggings, Eidsvold, and his mother as Princess, of the Barambah Mission. He enlisted on the 5th April 1916 at Cloncurry, at the age of 22 years and 5 months, stating his current occupation as stockman. George arrived in Brisbane on the 1st May 1916 and embarked for overseas service on the ship HMAT A49 Seang Choon on the 19th Sept 1916 and arrived on the 9th December 1916 at Plymouth, England.
It is on the 25th January 1917 in England that George is charged with refusing to follow orders to leave a village at the request of Sergeant Self and of striking L/Corporal Roberts in the face with his fist. A court martial proceeding occurred against George Robert Aitken. He pleaded not guilty to both charges, but was found guilty. The seriousness of the offence was reflected in the initial sentence of 2 years with hard labour, which was then commuted to 12 months detention with forfeiture of pay for 377 days.
It was during his captivity that he issued what he called “a little story” to his brother Dennis Lee “Dan” Hampson. Within this letter he issued his will: Dan is to receive his belongings and their mother Mary Francis Hampson is to receive the pay he accrued while enlisted. He wishes his brother good luck and hopes that if either of them does not survive the war that they meet on the other side, if it exists.
The military authorities intervened in George’s case on the 6th June 1917, and the remaining 232 days of his sentence were fully remitted. George was now free to fight in the Allies’ 1917 offensive. He formalised his will, again naming Mrs Hampson. He was sent to France on the 1st July and on the 7th July was at Havre, a common entry port during WW1.
On the 23rd July 1917, George Aitken was listed as being in the field with the 5th Reinforcement Regiment of the 52nd Battalion. George Robert Aitken was killed in action on the 19th of October 1917 in Belgium on the Western Front, barely three months after he was released from prison. The news was published in The Queenslander in the 362nd List on Saturday, 8th December 1917.