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Jesse Kendall was born in Preston in August 1872. His father, John Kendall (b. 1838 in Walton Le Dale) was a spinner. His mother was Alice Wright, b. 1840 in Preston. He had a sister Isabella and brother Alfred.

In 1891, Jesse was a labourer, living with his parents at 86 Aqueduct Street, Preston. In 1898, he married Margaret Jones (b. 1872 in Aldershot) and they had 7 children, only 3 of whom survived infancy: Jesse (b. 1899), Hector (b. 3.04.03) and William (b. 9.03.09).

Three sets of military records survive for Jesse, not only his 1914 attestation, but also his two attestations for the Militia in 1896 and 1906. Jesse joined the 3Bn Reserve Militia on 17th October 1896 and re-joined on 30th June 1906. In 1896 he was living at 77 Brougham Street, Preston, and he was given service number 4371. (He was single in 1896). He spent some time serving abroad with 3Bn, first in South Africa during the Boer War (1901-2) and then in Malta. Whilst in Malta in 1903, he had an accident which was the subject of a Court of Inquiry. The Inquiry established that Jesse was getting out of bed early one morning and he caught his leg against a nail sticking out of a box. He cut his leg badly, had it seen to in hospital but then the wound re-opened and he was committed for a further ten days in hospital. The Inquiry concluded it was an accident, and did not occur while Jesse was on duty.

In his attestation in 1906, he gave his address as 15 Harcourt Street, Preston, and said he was married with two children under 14 years of age (Jesse and Hector). He was 5’ 4” tall, weighed 124lbs and had a 36½” chest. He had a fresh complexion, grey eyes and brown hair. In 1906, his employers, Britannia Iron Works of Great Shaw Street, Preston, provided a reference for Jesse, saying that he had worked for them for about three years and they ‘found him a very good workman and very civil and obliging’.

Jesse’s wife, Margaret, died in 1912 aged only 40, and the following year he re-married. His second wife was Elizabeth Ann Brierley (née Salisbury, b. 1868 in Kirkham). Elizabeth Ann had an illegitimate daughter, Mary Jane Salisbury (b. 1899) and two children by her first husband Henry Brierley: Harry (b. 1898) and Isabella (b. 1901).

Jesse re-enlisted with the Loyal North Lancs on 8th September 1914 and was given service number 4115. He had put on a bit of weight and now weighed 144lbs. He was a furnace tenter, and living at 13 Harcourt Street, Preston. He was initially posted to 6th Bn but on 3rd December he was posted to 1st Bn and embarked for France. At Le Havre on 12th December, Jesse was disciplined for ‘falling out without permission’ and ordered to forfeit 7 days’ pay. He then joined 1st Bn who at the time were billeted at Hazebrouck. They had been heavily involved in fighting in the early months of the War and had already lost more than 400 men and the Battalion had been withdrawn to rest and receive reinforcements, but on the 21st the Battalion was suddenly recalled to the front. Jesse was reported missing in action on 22 December and later presumed dead. An account of the day’s action can be found here.

His wife, Elizabeth Ann, was awarded a pension of 19s 6d a week for herself and two children, plus a further allowance for an adopted child, with effect from 23rd August 1915. A note from the Regimental Paymaster dated 28th April 1915 confirms his children’s names, given on his attestation form, as Isabella (b. 27.7.01), Hector (b. 9.04.03) and William (b. 9.03.09). In this complicated family, Isabella was Elizabeth’s daughter by a different father, and Hector and William were Jesse’s children, by a different mother. In fact, Jesse and Elizabeth didn’t have any children together.

Harry Brierley (Elizabeth’s son by her first marriage) enlisted in the Loyals in 1914 at age 18 and was killed at Guillemont in 1916. He was 3913 PTE. H. BRIERLEY. L.N.LAN.R.

When he died, Jesse had just 12s 5d to his name, which was forwarded to his widow Elizabeth when his death was finally confirmed by the War Office in July 1916. She received news of her son’s death a couple of months later. In 1919 she received Jesse’s War Gratuity of £3.

Rank: Private
Service No: 4115
Date of Death: 22/12/1914
Age: 42
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st Bn.
Panel Reference: Panel 27 and 28.

Bill Brierley
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