From Amwell End to Guisborough: the Life and Times of Peter Charles Jackson
My husband’s grandfather, Peter Charles Jackson, was born on the twenty-first of January 1892 in Ware, Hertford, to Martha Jackson (born Bennett) and John Peter Jackson, a Bargeman.
Peter was the fourth of six children born to John Peter Jackson, a Bargeman, and Martha Bennett:
Life was likely very hard for the Jackson family – the 1891 census shows the family living in Dickinson’s Yard, Amwell End, Ware. Amwell End, and the Yards in particular, were the poorest of poor housing (and were demolished as slums in the 1930’s). Families were crammed together in small Yards accessible from the main street, with poor sanitation. Infant mortality here was high.
Peter’s father, John, was a Bargeman for most of his working life, but despite the malt industry providing many jobs, work would likely have been on a day-to-day basis, and seasonal. At certain times of the year John would have most likely done other labouring work to supplement the family’s income.
Peter was one of three boys – all three would see action in the Great War, but only Peter would survive, his brothers (John William and Ernest Edward) dying within 3 months of each other in 1916 – John in September, Ernest in November. Parents John and Martha were spared the dreaded telegrams – both had already passed away in 1915, John in July, Martha in September. John junior left a widow, Caroline, and three children – two daughters (Elizabeth and Rose) and a son (John), at 4 Grove Street, Edmonton.
The eldest living child of John and Martha in 1916 would have been Sylvesta, by now using the name Sylvia, who was on her second marriage, and living with husband John Pratt and her three daughters from her first marriage (Phyllis, Gladys, and Lillian) in Wallingford, Berkshire. Younger sister Edith was by then living in Canada as Mrs John Mummery with one child, Dulcie. When did Peter learn that his brothers had perished, I wonder?
Peter joined the Bedfordshire Regiment , service number 9561. On 24th December 1917, as a Lance Corporal in the 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion, Peter was treated at the Ypres Casualty Clearing Station being treated for Trench Foot, which included being given 500 Units of Anti-Tetanus Serum. He was transferred from the Sick Convoy on the 28th December, to the Military Convalescent Hospital, Eastbourne ,arriving on 12th January 1918 . He had been with the field force for 8 months at this point, and in the Army for 7 years and 9 months. His religion was given as Wesleyan.
Peter remained in the army for several more years following the end of the First World War. We know that when his son Ernest Wilfred was about 2 years old, the family returned from Malta (where Peter had been posted) to England. The family lived in Army Accommodation at 24 Spring Road, Kempston, Bedford, which is certainly where the family were living in 1923 when daughter Nora was born, and again in 1929 when son Ian came along. Only Ernest was born in Malta, in 1926. In 1928, Peter won a Sergeants’ Mess Shooting Competition and was awarded a Sheffield Silver cup, which in later life he used as an ashtray! Peter occasionally smoked cigarettes, and later would ‘bed in’ new pipes, which earned him free tobacco for his own pipe.
By 1939, Peter had left the Army and was working as a Prison Officer. According to the 1939 Register, Peter and Mabel were living at 47 Kenton Avenue, Southall, with daughter Nora (16) and sons Ernest (13) and Ian (9).
During his time as a Prison Officer, Peter worked on the death cells, and knew the famous executioner, Albert Pierrepoint. Following his retirement (date unknown) Peter and Mabel moved to Camberley, in Surrey, where Peter purchased land in what is now the Branksome Road area of the town. The intention was to build a house, and the couple lived in a caravan on site. Son Ernest lived in the garage!
Unfortunately, before the house could be built, Mabel suffered a series of strokes, so Peter moved up to Cleveland, in Yorkshire, where daughter Nora and her family were now living. Mabel passed away in 1956.
Peter remained in Yorkshire until he passed away in October 1974.
Peter Charles Jackson 1892-1974
Categories: Bargeman, Bedfordshire Regiment, family history, genealogy, Jackson, Thain, Ware
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