John Robert Jackson

275280, WR/272588 Sapper, Transport Division, Royal Engineers

The man on the right is John Robert Jackson, Royal Engineers, probably taken in 1917: the identity of the other soldier is unknown. | Bottesford Heritage Archive, from the private collection of Mrs Jean Round by permission.
The man on the right is John Robert Jackson, Royal Engineers, probably taken in 1917: the identity of the other soldier is unknown.
Bottesford Heritage Archive, from the private collection of Mrs Jean Round by permission.

John Rob’t Jackson is one of the men named on the Bottesford ‘church list’ of WW1 Servicemen.

Home background

John Robert Jackson was born in 1883 in the Peterborough area. The 1891 census gives Woodstone as his place of birth, but the 1901 census gives it as Old Fletton. His parents were John Jackson and Mary Ann Jackson. John Jackson senior was born in Broughton Clays, close to Brant Broughton, in 1859. His mother was Mary A Jackson nee Ward, born in Peterborough in 1866. They were married on the 15th April, 1883, at Fletton, Peterborough.

In 1891, the Jackson family was living on the High Street at Brant Broughton, Lincolnshire. John Jackson (senior) was a brick maker. There were four children. The oldest was eight years old John Robert, born in Peterborough.

Then came Thomas, aged 6, and Ruth, aged 4, both born in Allington, Lincolnshire, The youngest was Horace, aged two, who was born in Woodstone, Peterborough.

In 1901, John Robert Jackson had become a brick maker and was living at home with his parents at Stragglethorpe Brickyard, Lincolnshire. The census displays some confusion about nearly everyone’s place of birth, but it is clear that there were now additional children: as well as John, Thomas and Horace, there was Joseph (aged 8), Ann (aged 6), Ruby (aged 2) and a 1 month old daughter, all were born in Stragglethorpe.

He had joined the Lincolnshire Militia. On the 20th August, 1900, John Robert Jackson completed a Militia Attestation form in Lincoln. He was a single labourer, aged 17 years and two months, whose father was Mr J Jackson of Newark. We learn that he was 5 foot 3 inches tall, weighed 115 lbs, was fresh complexioned with grey eyes and light brown hair, had a brown patch on the inside of his left shoulder blade and belonged to the Church of England. He was assigned to the 4th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, with Service Number 3646 as a part-timer. He went on to complete 49 days drill that year, and remained in the Lincolnshires at least until 1903.

In 1911, John senior and his wife Mary Ann Jackson had come to Bottesford, and lived in Retford Cottages on Chapel Street. He was still worked as a brick and tile maker. John Robert Jackson had married Eliza Annie King, born in 1879 in Easthorpe, Bottesford, on the 29th July, 1905, and in 1911 they lived at 3 Station Road, Bottesford, with children Agnes Mary (5), John Reuben (2, born in Ilkeston) and Thomas King Jackson (1), as well has Mary Ann’s father, Reuben King, aged 69. John Robert worked as a labourer in the brickyard located adjacent to the Bottesford Station.

Service record

John Robert Jackson enlisted on the 12th December, 1915, but not mobilised until the 1st May, 1917. He was a Sapper in his first regiment the Royal Engineers. His first Service Number was 275280, but this was changed to WR/272588 when he was moved to the Transport Division (Railway) of the Royal Engineers.

There were two types of Railway Royal Engineers – construction units and operating units. He may have been building railways (he had been a brickyard labourer) or he may have operated a train. This information is not available.

During the war he was gassed, possibly leading to his transfer to the Reserve which, according to his Certificate of Transfer (Serial Number 26346) was on the 25th February 1919.

John Robert Jackson was awarded the Victory Medal and the British Medal.

Life after the war

John Robert and Eliza Ann lived on Station Road throughout the 1920s. In the 1939 register they were still living on Station Road. Robert, who now gave his year of birth as 1874, was working as a general gardener. With them lived Reuben Jackson, born the 19th April 1908, who was a builder’s labourer.

John Robert Jackson died in 1949 and was buried on the 22nd April at Bottesford, aged 65. Eliza Ann Jackson some fourteen years later in March 1963 and buried on the 26th February at Bottesford, aged 84.

We are grateful to Mrs Jean Round for the loan of photographs and documents and to Jonathon D’Hooghe for his research.

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