Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Jervis Truelove 1899-1918

Jervis Leslie Truelove 
3rd December 1899-4th September 1918

Jervis Leslie Truelove, a distant cousin, was born on 3 Dec 1899 in Billingshurst, Sussex
. He was the ninth of thirteen children born to William Charles Truelove and Louisa Ketcher who were married in October 1884 in Westcott near Dorking. They already had a son, William, born earlier that year and he was followed by Olga in 1886 then Charles two years later, Lily in 1889 and Percy in 1891. By then the family had moved to Ewhurst where William was employed as a gamekeeper. They did not stay there long, however, as by the time Rosie joined the family eighteen months later, they were living in the centre of the small town of Billingshurst. The next baby, Ambrose, was born there in 1896 as was Victor just ten months later. Jervis arrived at the end of 1899 then Cornelius in 1902. The family was rounded off by three little girls, Daisy in 1905, Ivy in 1908 and Violet in 1912. The family settled in Billingshurst where the younger children, including Jervis, all attended the local infant and primary school and all but Lily survived into adulthood.

In June 1918, at the age of 18, Jervis joined the 53rd (Young Soldier) Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment, one of the new armies. It was a basic recruit training unit based at Aldershot. In July, after six weeks training, Jervis was assigned to the 7th Battalion the Royal Fusiliers and went to France.

He joined the Fusiliers on July 18th, which was a decisive day in the war on the Western Front. Following a failed German attack three days earlier, the allies together attacked and forced back the Germans on a twenty seven mile front and this victory marked the end of German attacks and the beginning of the end of the war.

The 7th Battalion Royal Fusiliers were involved in several battles in the front line during August. It appears that Jervis died in hospital so without knowing how long he had been there, it is difficult to know in which battle he had been injured. However, his battalion were present The Battle of Drocourt-Queant which took place from 2-3 September so that would seem the most likely. The Drocourt-Queant line was a German defensive line in north eastern France. It was attacked and held by British and Canadian troops during those days and was one more significant step toward the end of hostilities. No battle is without casualties and although the number of Germans killed and wounded was higher than the allies, there were many British troops affected.

The hospital to which Jervis was taken was on the outskirts of Rouen. There was a supply depot here, a Red Cross station and the Adjutant-General's Office as well as a dozen hospitals. In one of those hospitals on September 4th, Jervis Truelove died of his wounds, less than three months after he joined up and just aged eighteen and a half.

Jervis’s older brother Victor had already been killed in France in 1917 and Cornelius died at home in 1918, so the family lost several boys to the war. The rest stayed relatively local and most married and had children. By the time Jervis’s father William died in 1948 he had thirteen grandchildren. His wife Louisa died in 1951, still in Billingshurst where the family had lived since 1900.

In Memory of
Private J L Truelove
78727, 7th Bn., Royal Fusiliers who died on 04 September 1918

With thanks to

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Harry George Hawkes 1899-1918

Harry George Hawkes


Harry George Hawkes, who is a distant cousin, was born on 5th March 1899 at Wimbledon. He was the eldest of seven children born to Harry Hawkes and Emily Hicks who were married in 1897 at Yorktown in Surrey. At the time of his marriage, Harry was a fruiterer as was his father but after that he changed his occupation and location frequently. By the time Harry George was born the family were living in Wimbledon and when his brother Frederick arrived two years later, the family were in Bexhill on Sea. They were living at this house at the time of the 1901 census and, although, the address is 3 Police Cottages, Harry senior was a postman.

In the next few years the family had moved to Hardingstone in Northamptonshire where Reginald was born in 1904, Lilian in 1907 and Robert in 1909. A long move south to the Isle of Sheppey came next and in 1911 Harry senior was working as a potter and the family were living at Queenborough. Later that year they were joined by Florence and in 1917 by Miriam. By the time Miriam was born, her older brother, Harry George, was working as a glass bottle presser at the Queenborough Glass Bottle Works. The bottle works was one of the earliest automated factories in Britain and production continued throughout the war.

Harry George joined up at Sheerness on 11th November 1916 the age of 17 years 284 days giving his address as 46 Gordon Avenue Queenborough. He joined the East Surrey Regiment and was assigned to the army reserve until 4th December 1917 when he was mobilised and went to France on 29th March 1918. A few days later he was assigned to the 10th Battalion West Kent Regiment and he fought with them on the front line on the Western Front.

The Spring Offensive launched by the Germans in March was still ongoing and every day battles on all fronts raged. The 10th battalion had been in Italy the previous autumn but were back in France before March 21st when the German attack began and Harry George joined them. He survived an explosion at an ammunition dump at the beginning of May in which many of his battalion were killed and injured only to be badly hurt in battle on the 21st. He was admitted to hospital and on 1st June was brought home to England and admitted to the King George Hospital in London. He was suffering from chest and spine paraplegia and he died from complications arising from his injuries on June 20th. Five days later he was buried at Brookwood Cemetery in Surrey. His grave is one of a long line of gravestones, all commemorating men who died in May and June 1918.

His family stayed in Sheppey where Harry senior changed his occupation again to become a market gardener. Harry died in 1944 and Emily in 1957. Harry’s brothers and sisters all remained in and around Kent, married and had twelve children between them.

In Memory of
C/20721, 10th Bn., Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment)
who died age 19
on 20 June 1918
Son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Hawkes, of 46, Gordon Avenue, Queenborough, Kent. Born at Wimbledon, Surrey.
Remembered with honour