JACOBS, Stewart Arch

No.SD/5519, Private Stewart Arch JACOBS
Aged 27

11th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment
Killed in Action presumed on Wednesday, 3rd April 1918

Stuart Arch Jacobs was born in 1890 in Balsham (Linton Q4-1890 3B:459), baptised in Balsham on 12th October 1890, son of [Arthur] Charles and Adelaide JACOB (née ARCH). His mother died around the time of his birth, aged 24. His Christian name varies from Stuart to Steward and Stewart.

1891 census...Aged 6 months he was a boarder at High Street, Balsham, with widowed grandmother Betsy ARCH [52] and her three single daughters Annie [20], Emily [18] and Emma [13]. All of them were born in Balsham.

His father re married, to Eliza BROWN in 1895

1901 census...Aged 10, he was at the Horseshoes Inn,Helions Bumpstead, with his father Arthur C JACOBS [37] born Balsham; his stepmother Eliza [36] born Balsham; half-brothers Sidney A [4] and Herbert [ 4 months]; half-sisters Hilda M [5], Barbara [3] and Kate [2]. His half-brothers and half-sisters all born in Helions Bumpstead. Also there, his cousin Octavia JACOBS [14] born Balsham

1911 census...He has not been found in this census but certainly moved at some time to the Grays area of Essex. His father and stepmother were still at the Horseshoes, Helions Bumpstead with their children Hilda Mary, Barbara, Kate Elizabeth, Herbert Charles, Dorothy Ida [8] and Charles [5]

He married Lily HUGHES (b.21-1-1892) in 1912 (Risbridge Q2-1912 4A:1711). On the pension card, with their daughter Phyllis Dorothy (b.5-4-1914) she was living at Pale Green, Helions Bumpstead with her mother.

Stewart enlisted in Grays, Essex.His medal index card places him in the 14th Battalion but this battalion was a Reserve battalion and never went overseas, on 1 September 1916 it was absorbed into Training Reserve Battalions of 23rd Reserve Brigade.

The Essex Newsman of 18 May 1918 reported him missing as Pvt S.Jacobs of Helions Bumpstead.

The Battalion were being driven back by the German Spring Offensive from 21st March to the end on March. Apart from some messages, there is no actual war diary for the last 8 days of March 1918

CWGC have 40 of the 11th Royal Sussex killed on 3rd April 1918, but this date actually means little as the war diary has nothing happening that day. These were the missing during the battle. Where the Germans had buried our dead but no record was found of the date of death the date presumed appears to have been for at least 40 of them as 3rd April, similarly for those still missing. Since Stewart is known to have been buried by the Germans, his grave must have been lost in later fighting. A few are buried in Roisel and St Emilie, but most have no known grave and are named on the Pozières memorial. The battalion was reduced by this battle (they worked out by the 5th they had lost 320 men killed, wounded or missing) to a cadre and was reformed on the 11th April as a composite battalion before moving into the Ypres Salient.

This is born out by a letter, recorded in the Helions Bumptead magazine, sent to his widow by Sergeant F Hodgson, a returned Prisoner of war, who wrote:-

"I was captured on 21st March 1918 and I was brought with other men to bury some of our dead. I identified your husband by a letter he had in his pockets, which he had received a few days before he was killed. I don't think he suffered much. We buried a good many of his regiment, and their names were put on a cross over their grave. It is on the roadside between Roisel and St.Emile".

photo: Roy Beardsworth

Stewart Jacobs is commemorated on the Pozières memorial, panels 46 and 47
and also on the West Tilbury memorials (Church and Hall).

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details

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