Private Ernest Jervis
11999, 7th Bn., Lincolnshire Regiment who was killed in action on 10th July 1916, aged 24
Remembered with honour
Thiepval Memorial (Pier and Face 1 C)
Sarah Beresford grew up in Barrow Hill where her father, Samuel, was a coal miner working for the Staveley Coal and Iron Company. She married William Jervis, an Iron Foundry labourer from Staveley, on 25th August, 1890, at Staveley Parish Church, and the couple made their home with her widowed father at 2, Devonshire Terrace, Barrow Hill.
The cottage was very small and it was one of the earliest dwellings to have been built in the village by ironmaster George Hodgkinson Barrow in the early 1840’s. It was here that their sons, ERNEST JERVIS and William, were born in 1891 and 1894 respectively. Ernest was baptised at Staveley on 21st October 1891 and William on 6th September 1894.
By 1901, the Jervis family had moved to a home of their own at 77, Victoria Street, New Brimington, just a couple of miles away from Barrow Hill. The 1911 Census records 50 year old William still working at the ironworks where he had been joined by 19 year old Ernest who was employed as a pipe moulder, and 16 year old William who was an Iron Founders Clerk.
Ernest was a “well-known local cricketer, being both a good bowler and batsman. He was connected with Bethel P.M. Cricket Club for several seasons.”
At the outbreak of war, along with several other Brimington lads, Ernest answered Lord Kitchener’s call and enlisted in the 7th (Service) Battalion, Lincolnshire regiment, which had been formed at Lincoln in September 1914 as part of K2 and which came under command of 51st Brigade in 17th (Northern) Division. The Division was established by the Northern Command in September 1914, as part of the Army Orders authorising Kitchener’s Second New Army, K2. Early days were somewhat chaotic, the new volunteers having very few trained officers and NCOs to command them, no organised billets or equipment. The units of the Division initially concentrated in the Wareham – Lulworth – Swanage – Wool- Bovington area of Dorset but moved in late May 1915 to the Winchester area.
After receiving an order that the Division would be retained for home defence, subsequently cancelled, advance parties left for France on 6th July. Ernest Jervis landed at Boulogne on 14th July 1915 and units moved to concentrate near St Omer.
The 17th (Northern) Division served on the Western Front for the remainder of the war, taking part in many of the significant actions: In 1915, the Division spent its initial period of trench familiarisation and then holding the front lines in the southern area of the Ypres salient. ” In 1916, the Division was involved in fighting at the Bluff (south east of Ypres on the Comines canal), part of a number of engagements officially known as the Actions of Spring1916. Later in that same year however, the Division moved roughly 75 miles to the south in order to take their part in the major offensive that had been planned for the Somme.”
It was during the Battle of Albert (1st – 13th July) that Ernest Jervis was killed in action on 10th July 1916. A letter sent to his parents, jointly signed by Corporal J.Nickerson and Sergt. B Topliss, reads:- “No doubt you have been informed of the death of your son in action, but probably have few particulars. His death was instantaneous, being killed by a shell, and he died alongside one of his closest chums, Private T. Cooper, also of Chesterfield. It is very unfortunate for all of us here, for he was very well liked by all who knew him, and the gap caused by his loss will never be filled. Trusting that God will help you to bear this terrible loss.
Ernest Jervis is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the missing on the Somme. He was posthumously awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
© Ann Lucas