Jennings

Background:-

Arthur William Jennings was born in 1883 in Young, NSW.Photo Jennings AW

His parents were Joseph & Sophia Mary (nee Langridge d 1903). Joseph was born in Camden, Sophia in Bathurst. They married in Young, NSW in 1882.

Arthur was the oldest of 6 children. He had 3 sisters & 2 brothers.

He married Selina (Lena) Jane Brassington in 1908 at Mortlake. There were four children, Lillian May (b 1909), Frederick John (b 1910), Doris Elenor (b 1912), and Muriel (b 1914).

Enlistment:

Arthur enlisted on 10 Jan 1916.

He stated occupation as labourer and address as Bennett Street, Mortlake.

He was bigger than average being 5ft 8½in (174cm) tall; weighed 148lb (67kg); chest 33-37in (84-94cm). He had a scar over the knuckles of his right hand; a medium complexion, blue eyes, auburn hair; and was Church of England.

He named his wife Lena as his next of kin.

He was assigned Service Number 4759 and attached to 12th Reinforcements for the 18th Battalion which was part of the 5th Brigade of the 2nd Division.

War Service: Western Front

After 3 months basic training Arthur and the 12th Reinforcements departed Sydney on 14 Apr 1916 for England via Suez on HMAT Ceramic.

In June while undergoing training in England he went absent for 2 days and was fined 6 days’ pay. In July he repeated the offence for 1 day and was fined 3 days’ pay. Then in Oct he spent 17 days in Hospital.

He finally departed for France on 12 Nov and joined 18th Battalion on 24 Nov at Ribemont near Albert on the Somme. This was the extremely cold winter of 1916-17.

After spending the next few weeks in rear areas training, 18th Battalion moved back to alternate between support & front line trenches on 26 Dec for 1 week.

Jan 1917 was spent mainly in rear areas on working parties or training. In Feb they moved back into the trenches & were in the front line when the Germans made their strategic withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line. From 24 to 27 Feb Arthur’s Bn moved forward engaging the enemy suffering 19 killed and 80 wounded before being relieved. March was spent as part of the general push forward past Bapaume up to the Hindenburg Line.

In late Mar the Battalion was pulled back to Fricourt 5km from Albert. Arthur went absent for 2 days and was sentenced to 7 days Field Punishment No 2 & fined 9 days’ pay.

On 13 Apr they moved into the front line opposite Bullecourt which had been recently  attacked by Brigades of the 2nd Division which had  sustained losses above 50%. The final 2 weeks of Apr were spent in reserve lines and training.

Casualty:

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESOn 3 May 1917 the 18th Battalion was engaged in the Second Battle of Bullecourt. This was another battle of much bloodshed for the Australian forces but Bullecourt was eventually taken. The Battalion suffered 50% casualty rate with 358 casualties.

Arthur was posted as Missing. It was not until Dec 1917 that an inquiry was held and Arthur was officially classified as Killed in Action.

He is commemorated on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, France.

Aftermath:

On 3 May 1918 SMH IN Memoriam notices stated:

“JENNINGS.-In loving memory of my dear son, Arthur William Jennings, who fell at Bullecourt, France. May 3, 1917. Inserted by his loving father, Joseph Jennings.

JENNINGS -In loving memory of Private A. W. Jennings, who was killed in action May 3, 1917, at Bullecourt. Inserted by his loving sister and brother-in law, Vene and Arthur Walkley and family, Auburn.

JENNINGS.-In loving memory of Private A. W. Jennings, killed at Bullecourt, May 8, 1917. Inserted by his loving aunt, Auburn-road, Auburn, Jean Such.”

Notices continued in the following years, ie 1919:

“JENNING.-In loving memory of my dear son, Private A. W. Jenning, who fell at Bullecourt, France, May 3, 1917. Inserted by his loving father.

JENNINGS.-In loving memory of A. W. Jennings, killed at Bullecourt, May 3, 1917. Inserted by his loving sister and brother-in-law. Vene and Arthur Walkly, Auburn.”

Again in 1920:

“JENNINGS.- In loving memory of Private A. W. Jennings, killed in action, Bullecourt, France, May 3, 1917. Inserted by his sorrowing father.”

And in 1921:

“JENNINGS- In memory of Pte A. W. Jennings killed in action at battle of Bullecourt May 3 1917. Inserted by his wife and family.

JENNINGS-In loving memory of our dear son and brother, Private A. W. Jennings, who fell at Bullecourt, France May 3, 1917. Inserted by his loving father and sister, J. Jennings and L. Walkley.”

Lena received a pension of £2 per fortnight; and per fortnight for the children, Lillian £1, Frederick 15 shillings, and Doris & Muriel both 10 shillings each.

Arthur also had life insurance policies with MLC and with IOOF Pride of Burwood Lodge.

There is no record of any personal effects being sent to Lena.

His father died in 1932.

Lena struggled with bringing up four children so Frederick and Doris were sent to live in the Burnside Homes (Presbyterian Care) where they stayed until they were able to get employment.

Lena died in 1949 & was buried in Presbyterian Cemetery, Rookwood.

Lillian May married Ernest Albert Fleming in 1930. They had 4 children. She died in 1978.

Frederick John married Jane Jean Hunter in 1946. They had 1 child. He died in 1977.

Doris Elenor married Eric Ernest Smith in 1939. They lived in USA from 1941. They had 4 children. She died in 1990.

Muriel married Sidney Philip Palmer in 1939. They had 4 children. She died in 1991.

Arthur is also commemorated on the Concord War Memorial in Queen Elizabeth Park.

V2.7

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