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

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