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Camden New Journal - OBITUARY
Published: 2 July 2009

George and Rose pictured together in 2007
Green Jacket George, a ‘modern’ man devoted to his wife

GEORGE Ritchie, who has died aged 91, was a quiet, “modern” man from Somers Town who devoted his life to his pianist wife, Rose.
The couple, who lived together for more than 60 years in what is now the Ampthill estate, met at a town hall dance during the Second World War. Mr Ritchie went with his brother and the pair ended up marrying the two sisters they met that night.
George and Rose’s wedding, at the St Pancras Old Church in Euston in 1943, was disrupted by a bombing raid – but the service continued in a shelter in Mornington Crescent.
“They were massively in love,” said daughter Jenny, who flew over from Australia for the funeral on Thursday. “Everything he did, it was for her.”
A member of the Territorial Army before the war, Mr Ritchie found himself unable to fight abroad because of a medical condition. But he was given a post as a Green Jacket as part of the Andover Barracks, later watching out from a “peep box” on the south coast and shooting down enemy aircraft.
After the war, Mr Ritchie worked his whole life as a painter and decorator to provide for his seven children, one of the larger families in Somers Town at the time. His son, David, told how even in his 80s he was known to scale a ladder to do a paint job and how he “never complained”.
“He was also the original new man,” said David. “If there was something that needed done in the house he wouldn’t leave it to Rose.
“If something was spilt, he’d mop it up himself. He was a straight-up kind of bloke, he had determination and was a good role model. He never once laid a finger on us but he always had our respect.”
He added: “There was never much money about – but he never aspired to be rich. He was happy with his lot.”
Mrs Ritchie, who died 18 months ago, liked to sing and dance and play the piano at home and in in the old St Mary’s club in Eversholt Street while her husband was known as a quiet man, who liked to keep himself to himself. In later life, they often went to play bingo in the hall in Arlington Road, Camden Town.
Mr Ritchie liked to go to the “the office”, the bookies, on the weekends to lay a bet on the races and for his Ruby wedding anniversary enjoyed a day at Royal Ascot. He was known in the Neptune pub in Somers Town. He often spoke in Cockney rhyming slang – talking of “conkers” instead of money – and he banned swearing in the house when the kids were around.
His children told of their happy day trips to the seaside, playing cards for matchsticks, walks in Regent’s Park, and Sunday trips to Trafalgar Square and Whitehall to watch the changing of the guard.
Mr Ritchie died in the Royal Free Hospital on June 17 after succumbing to septicaemia. But his family said he had never recovered from the death of his Rose.
He leaves behind seven children, 18 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

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