Sunday, October 18, 2015

136676 Driver William Norman Jenner, Royal Engineers

William Norman Jenner was born at Newick on 25th March, 1893. He and his sister, Susan (born 3rd April, 1891) were the two children of Norman Jenner's second marriage to Ellen Maria Braysher, who was born at Chailey in 1861. At the time of their marriage Ellen Maria was living at Oxbottom which lies to the south of Newick and roughly mid-way between Hickwells and Beechland House 

William’s father Norman, ran a butchers shop on The Green, Newick, having moved there from Brighton with his first wife, Sarah Anne (nee Penny), sometime between 1881 and 1891. The shop was next door to the present butcher's, in what is now a pharmacy. Sarah died on 10th April 1889 and William married Ellen Braysher the following year, their marriage registered at Lewes district in the June quarter of 1890. 

Ellen Maria died at Oxbottom on 26th February 1896 aged 35 and Norman died at Newick Cottage Hospital on 14th October the same year.  He was 51 years old.  The orphaned William (aged three) and Susan (aged five) were taken in by their grandmother, Susan Braysher, and lived with her and Ellen's sister and brother-in-law, Frances and George Constable at Oxbottom in a small two-bedroomed cottage. 

William Jenner appears first in Chailey Parish Magazine in January 1916 in a list of specially attested men (as Jenner, William N) and in a line entry which states: Jenner, Sapper W, RE, England.  He had enlisted at Brighton with the Royal Engineers on 1st November 1915 and was given the service number 136676 and the rank of driver.

On 27th April 1916 he arrived in France as part of 446 Field Company, Royal Engineers.  The following month, Chailey Parish Magazine noted, Jenner, Sapper W, RE, France.   

Nothing is known of his service over the next two years but on 28th September 1918 he was injured when the mess cart he was driving overturned between Nurlu and Moislaines (approximately 12 miles west of Albert on The Somme).  William was thrown into a shell hole and injured seriously enough to be admitted to hospital the following day.  He remained there for the next six weeks, finally being discharged two days after the Armistice was signed.   

On 26th November 1918 William joined 447 Field Company via “REBD” (which possibly stands for Royal Engineers Base Depot) and seems to have remained with this company until discharged at Chatham in April 1919 (he had returned to England the previous month on account of long service).  His discharge papers note his address as Allington Road Newick. 

The following year, on 27th October 1920, William married Mary Anne Turner at Nutley.  The couple had met when they were both ‘in service’ at The Hall, Nutley.  His occupation was then given as electrician and his address as Eltham.
William Jenner subsequently worked as a clerical officer for Woolwich Borough Council and died at Plumstead on 18th August 1971 at the age of 78.

My thanks to Chris Jenner for providing some of the information that appears on this page, also for the photograph of William and Mary. Thanks too, to Simon Stevens for the poetrait of William which was sent to his headmaster, John Oldacre, at Newick School.

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