This post has been prepared by our volunteer, Ann Eales.
Express & Star, 22 December 1914
The article “Three Heroes of the War” which appeared in the Express & Star on Tuesday 22nd December 1914, tells us that
Private J. Jordan, 1st South Staffords, died from wounds received in France. His father, an old-age pensioner living in Leicester Street, Bilston, has another soldier son. Deceased served five years in Africa before going to France.
Further information is now available. His full name was John Jordan, he was born, and lived, at Bilston, and died on 15th November 1914. He had enlisted at Wednesbury, and his regiment number was 8626.
There does not seem to be any mention of him on any local war memorial. The Military Records that have been traced are minimal: his medal card, and an entry for him on the South Staffordshire Regiment Roll of Individuals entitled to the Victory Medal granted under Army Orders 301 and 266 of 1919. The list, signed off at Lichfield on 10th April 1920, has only his name, rank, and regiment number. There is no indication that his medal was ever dispatched or collected.
The Commonwealth War Grave Commission website has the following information:
Service No: 8626
Date of Death: 15/11/1914
Regiment/Service: South Staffordshire Regiment 1st Bn.
Grave Reference: III. C. 34.
Cemetery: BOULOGNE EASTERN CEMETERY
Additional Information: Son of Joseph and Ann Jordon, of 6, Salop St., Bradley, Bilston, Staffs
There is a John Jordan birth recorded at Wolverhampton in the 4th quarter of 1888, but also one in the 2nd Quarter of 1890, the latter perhaps more likely to be this man.
The 1891 census shows the Jordan family living at Temple Street, Bilston. Joseph Jordan, John’s father is age 51, and a Boat Builder, reportedly born at Bilston. His wife Ann is age 40: they have 7 children, all born like their parents in Bilston. Emma age 21 works as a Japanner, Mary A age 20 is a Packer at a Hollowware Works, Ann age 18, Joseph age 15, Hannah age 9 Scholar, John age 2 born 1889 and finally Thomas age 1.
At the time of the 1901 census the family was still living at 61 Temple Street. Joseph, now age 60, is a Ship and Boat Builder, Wood & Iron, and his Birthplace is recoded as Runcorn Cheshire. Mary Ann is age 49, the girls have left home, but Joseph age 25 lives there and follows the same occupation as his father. John is age 12 and his younger brother Thomas is age 11. There is no mention on the Census Form of the 2 youngest children going to school.
At the time of the 1911 census John Jordan’s father, Joseph is a widower, age 71, Occupation recorded as Formerly a Boat builder, born Runcorn, living alone at 1 Back of 32 Lester Street Bilston. Both John and Thomas are recorded living at military Establishments. John is based at Albany Barracks, Parkhurst Carisbrooke, Isle of Wight. The census transcription tells us that he is age 23, born about 1888, at Bilston Staffordshire, England, County/Island is “Military”, Country is England, Military Unit is “Infantry 1st Bn South Staffordshire regiment”, RD is No 641, ED, institution, or vessel is “Arabia, Cyprus, and Gibraltar” Piece is 34996, and not altogether clear unless one is familiar with military census records.
The 1911 Census also has information available about Thomas, Joseph Jordan’s other soldier son mentioned in the Express & Star article, showing him at Carisbrooke, also, and a member of the 1st Worcestershire regiment. Information about him and his military career is proving elusive at this stage, and further investigation will be needed. He may have survived the War as there are several marriages for Thomas Jordans, and a record of a death of a Thomas Jordan age 69 being registered in Wolverhampton in March 1960, which could be the same man.
Joseph Jordan appears to have lived to the great age of 82 years, based on there being a death registered in June 1921 at Wolverhampton for a Joseph Jordan. A death Ann Jordan age 58 was registered at Wolverhampton in June 1909 and this would seem to be his wife.