WHITTON and RITCH -Surname Studies and people from the Island of GRAEMSAY, Orkney

George Ramsdale Witton

George Ramsdale Witton

Male 1874 - 1942  (68 years)

Personal Information    |    Notes    |    All

  • Name George Ramsdale Witton 
    Born 28 Jun 1874  Warrnambool, Victoria, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 14 Aug 1942  Camberwell, Victoria, buried in Brisbane's Lutwyche Cemetery Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I20614  Whitton
    Last Modified 22 Jan 2019 

    Father David William Witton,   b. 28 Aug 1835, Launceston, Tasmania Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 20 Jun 1904, Drouin, Victoria Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 68 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Mother Rebecca Watson,   b. 1839,   d. 1917  (Age 78 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Family ID F8376  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Mary Louisa Humphrey,   d. 1931 
    Married 7 Jan 1913 
    Last Modified 22 Jan 2019 
    Family ID F8375  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • George Ramsdale Witton (1874 – 1942) was a Lieutenant in the Bushveldt Carbineers in the Boer War in South Africa.

      He was sentenced to death for murder after the shooting of Boer prisoners.[1] He was subsequently reprieved by Kitchener, although Lieutenants Peter Handcock and Harry "Breaker" Morant who had been court martialed with him were executed by a firing squad on 27 February 1902.
      itton was born near Warrnambool, Victoria, Australia, and was from a farming family; prior to his VIB enlistment, he was a gunner in the Royal Australian Artillery. He enlisted in the Victorian Imperial Bushmen for the Boer War, and was promoted from Corporal to Squadron Quartermaster-Sergeant. Major Robert Lenehan enlisted him in the Bushveldt Carbineers with a commission as Lieutenant.

      After the killing of a number of Boer prisoners, Witton was one of four officers charged by the British Army with murder, and was convicted. However, he strongly protested and secured a legal opinion from Isaac Isaacs KC, an Australian member of parliament, who recommended that he should petition HM the King for a pardon.[2] Kitchener commuted Witton's sentence to life imprisonment. After further protests, he was released on 11 August 1904, although not pardoned. He had been ill twice in prison in England, once from arsenic fumes in a metal shop and once from typhoid fever. He returned to Australia on 12 November 1904 embittered after three years in prison and wrote a book giving his version of the events involving Morant, Handcock and the BVC. Witton also claims that many of the accusations about them, which led to their arrest and trial, were made by disaffected members of their regiment whose rebellious behaviour had been suppressed by Morant and Handcock.

      An embittered Witton did not rush to enlist in World War I. After former and future Prime Minister Andrew Fisher pledged during the 1914 general election that Australia would defend Britain "to the last man and last shilling," Witton intimated that he would be that last man. He lived in Gippsland, Victoria and in Queensland where he was a dairy farmer. He married twice, but did not have any children. He had a heart attack while cranking his car engine, and died in a hospital on 14 August 1942. He was buried[3] in Brisbane's Lutwyche Cemetery which, coincidentally, is located on the corner of Gympie and Kitchener Roads.