Today we remember Levi Jeffries, who died 100 years ago today.
Levi was born in Long Compton, Warwickshire in 1873, the son of Frederick and Maria Jeffries. In 1891 they were living in Ingestre, Staffordshire, together with Levi’s brothers Albert, George and Charles A., and Levi was a servant at Ingestre Hall. He married Louisa Mary Bulmer in St George’s Hannover Square in 1899.
By 1911 he was a Detective Sergeant with Wolverhampton Borough Police. He was living at 109 Owen Road, Wolverhampton, together with his wife Louisa, sons Charles and Claude, daughter Sheila, and his sister-in-law Kate Bulmer.
An entry in the Chief Constable’s Report Book on 19 October 1914 lists Sergeant Jeffreys [sic] as one of the police officers who have applied to rejoin their regiments. In the case of Levi, this was the 185th Heavy Battery of the Royal Garrison Artillery (number 2419 and later 277419). He had previously served in the South African Campaign. He first served in France from 7 July 1915. Levi died at home in Wolverhampton on 23 October 1916, and is buried in the Wolverhampton Borough Cemetery. A brief entry in the Report Book for 4 December 1916 states that “D.S. Jeffries died in Hospital Here on 23rd Oct 1916 & was accorded full Military & Police honours.”
Wolverhampton Archives has the report from the Coroner’s inquest that was done following Levi’s death. This states the following:
That on the Twenty-third Day of October in the Year aforesaid, at the General Hospital in the said Borough, the said Levi Jeffries died of misadventure under an anaesthetic properly and carefully administered for a proper operation for a sebaceous cyst which arose from an accident in the trenches, the heart being injuring by gassing at the front.
A small newspaper clipping contained in the coroner’s file gives more details about the incident in the trenches:
During the course of an attack he was flung back in the trench where he was engaged, and subsequently complained of an injury to his back, being allowed special leave to return home.
The article also stated that Levi had received medals from three monarchs – Queen Victoria, King Edward and King George, as he had received medals for both military campaigns but also a medal for bravery during his work with the police.