Fireman John William 'Jack' Jenkins of Ventnor Fire Brigade was killed in action with the 1st/8th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, in Palestine on 2 November 1917 aged 25.


'Jack', the title by which he was commonly known in the town, was born in Ventnor in 1892 to his father Charles, a chimney sweep and his mother Beatrice. The 1911 Census reveals that now aged 19 Jack is still living with his parents and a younger sister Ethel at 17 Albert Street and has followed his father in to the chimney sweeping trade. 

Jenkins, front left laid on his side.

I strongly suspect that Jack's father is fire brigade Foreman Charlie Jenkins, photographed here, circa 1905 (Jack also appears in this same photo; see bottom of the page).

At some point after that Census he joined Ventnor's brigade and he was also a member of the Isle of Wight Rifles. Sadly it seems that the majority of his military records were among the 60% of the total archive destroyed by German fire bombing in the Second World War but it is known beyond doubt that he was already a Company Sergeant Major by the time of his death at Gaza. He had married Edith Mary Lyddon in the summer of 1916.  


Rest in peace Fireman Jenkins.

An image of the young John 'Jack' Jenkins extracted from a large image of Ventnor Fire Brigade, circa 1905. Notes on the rear of the image state that at this stage he was the brigade's call-boy; one of the many knockers-up who ran around the town banging firemen's doors to ensure that they understood there was a call, whether they'd heard the maroons and bells or not.