George was the fourth son of Mitchell and Alice Laidlaw of Gum Flat near Inverell. His birth was registered at Inverell in 1895. He attended Gum Flat Public School. At the age of twenty one he enlisted at Inverell in 1916, stating he was a farmer at Gum Flat.
George was one of twenty four men farewelled at Inverell Town Hall on 30 August 1916. At this event the men were all presented with the Inverell Medal and socks from the Ladies Sock Committee.
He joined the 54th Battalion, 8th Reinforcement and sailed from Australia on HMAT A29 Suevic in November. The Battalion eventually arrived at Devonport, England in January 1917 and George was immediately hospitalised with influenza. Further training was undertaken in England until he was sent to France in April. Five months later George was Killed in Action at Polygon Wood, Belgium. He has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres, Belgium. His few remaining personal possessions were returned to his Mother and included a pocket book, photos and a razor strop.
At Inverell Private George Laidlaw’s name is inscribed on the town’s Honor Roll and Cenotaph. In 1919 he was one of the men for whom a memorial tree was planted in Kurrajong Parade. His name is also recorded on the Gum Flat Roll of Honor.
Image: George Laidlaw with his parents. Photo provided by family