Herbert Blake Jennings was born in about October 1889 in Rochester, Kent to parents William Blake Jennings and Katharine Charlotte Littlewood, he was the middle child of three children. Herbert was baptized at Saint Margaret of Antioch, Rochester on 15 March 1890.
The 1891 Census shows the family living at 2 Maidstone Road, Rochester. By 1901, the family had moved to Queensville, Castle Church, Staffordshire his father was working as a Prison Department Clerk. Following the death of his father in 1907, Herbert, his mother and siblings had returned to Rochester and were living his grandmother Sophia Littlewood at 161 Maidstone Road, Rochester. Herbert was working as a contractor’s traveller (sand, ballast, clay etc).
On the 18 August 1915, Herbert joined the Kent Royal Garrison Artillery and was serving as a gunner, Regimental No. 253. The Kent Royal Garrison Artillery was a unit of the Territorial Force with its HQ at Sheerness. In 1914 it was made up of three companies, No 1 (Fort Clarence, Rochester and Sheerness) Coy, No 2 (Gravesend and Northfleet) Coy and No 3 (Dover and Folkestone) Coy.
The Royal Garrison Artillery: developed from fortress-based artillery located on British coasts. From 1914 when the army possessed very little heavy artillery it grew into a very large part of the British forces. Because the forces were armed with heavy, large calibre guns and howitzers they were positioned some way behind the front line and had immense destructive power.
Herbert progressed through the ranks of the Royal Garrison Artillery to become a 2nd Lieutenant. He records show he entered the Theatre of War in France on 5 January 1917, serving in the Royal Garrison Artillery Territorial Force. Herbert was wounded in action and died from his wounds on 25 July 1917 in France. Herbert was awarded a Victory Medal and a British War Medal affectionately known as ‘Mutt and Jeff’ on 31st October 1922 after his death.
Probate records show that Herbert left effects of £485 19s left to widow Katherine Charlotte Jennings.
References and links:
British Army WWI Medal Roll Index Card 1914-1920
Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929
Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919
Long long trail
Wartime Memories Project
Find my past
Research: Karen Mapley