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Ignatious Jackson

Private Ignatious Jackson, 2539, York and Lancaster Regiment, 10th Battalion

Ignatious Jackson was born in Ossett in late 1890, the eldest child of Horbury born George Jackson and his wife Catherine Mary (nee Brannock) who married in summer 1889. In 1891, Ignatious was living with his parents at Albert Street, Ossett. His father was a railway shunter. By 1901 they had moved to Manor Road,Ossett now with five children and George was working as a railway goods guard. Unusually for the time, Catherine Mary (Kate) was also working, as a rag sorter.

By 1904, the family, now with six children, had left Ossett for Normanton, where George Jackson had gained employment as a church and school caretaker. In 1911, Ignatious was aged 20 and he, and his younger brother, Anthony aged 15, were both pony drivers in a coal mine. Ignatious, aged 25, was to be killed in action in the Great War and the same fate befell his younger brother, Anthony Jackson, aged 22.

Ignatious joined the Army Special Reserve when he was 20 years and 9 months old, enlisting at Pontefract on the 6th June 1912. He was 5’ 8½" tall with a sallow complexion, light brown eyes and light brown hair. At the time of his enlistment his employer was required to provide a reference and indicated that Ignatious had worked for the colliery "as a boy to a collier" for 7 or 8 years and that he was sober and honest.

Ignatious was declared fit and joined the York and Lancaster Regiment with regimental service number 2539 and served within the UK until the 27th October 1914 when he embarked for France with the British Expeditionary Force. He appears to have suffered gunshot wounds on two occasions in 1915 and was hospitalised to the UK. On each occasion he returned to France; the second time on 2nd January 1916 and he was killed in action on 27th January 1916 whilst serving with the 10th (Service) Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment (service number 3/2539).

The 10th (Service) Battalion, York & Lancaster Regiment was raised at Pontefract in September 1914 as part of Kitchener's Third Army and joined 63rd Brigade in 21st Division. After initial training close to home they moved to Halton Park, spending the winter in billets in Leighton Buzzard from December. They moved to Tring in May 1915 then to Witley in August for final training. They proceeded to France on the 11th of September 1915, landing at Boulogne. The Division embarked on lengthy marches and went into action in the British assault at Loos on 26 September 1915, where the Division suffered over 3,800 casualties.

In 1916 they were in action in The Battle of The Somme and on the 8th of July 1916 the battalion transferred with 63rd Brigade to 37th Division. In 1917 the took part in the Arras Offensive and the Third Battle of Ypres. In early 1918 the army was reorganised and on the 4th of February the 10th Yorks and Lancs was disbanded in France, with the troops transferring to other units.

The 10th (Service) Battalion, York and Lancaster regiment were billeted in Armentieres for three months in the winter of 1915/16. Private Ignatious Jackson was killed in January 1916 while working on new defences (digging trenches) in the Epinette salient near Armentieres.

Ignatious Jackson was one of the few Ossett men to be posthumously awarded the 1914 Star (the Bronze Star) with clasp which indicated that he had served in a theatre of war under fire between 5th August 1914 and 22nd November 1914. He was also awarded the British and Victory medals. Like his brother, Ignatious Jackson is not remembered on any Ossett Memorial or Roll of Honour perhaps because he and his family had left Ossett in about 1904.

He is remembered in this 2014 biography and Roll of Honour because the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and/or the "U.K. Soldiers who Died in the Great War 1914-1918" listing records him as born or residing in Ossett.

Armentieres 1916

Above: The purple line on the map above shows the front line between May and August 1916 in the Armentières sector.

Private Ignatious Jackson died on the 27th January 1916, aged 25 years, the son of George and Catherine Jackson, of 3, Dalefield Rd., Normanton, Yorkshire. He is buried at grave reference IX. E. 39. at the Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery, Armentieres,1 Nord, France. Armentieres is a town in the Department of the Nord, on the Belgian frontier, 14.5 kilometres north-west of Lille. From the town of Armentieres take the D945 to Estaires. Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery is signposted off this road just before Erquinghem-sur-la-Lys. There is a level crossing situated approximately 100 metres from the cemetery.

Armentieres was occupied by the 4th Division on 17 October 1914 and it remained within the Allied lines until its evacuation ahead of the German advance on 10 April 1918, after a prolonged and heavy bombardment with gas shell. It was occupied by the Germans next day, and was not recovered until 3 October 1918.

Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery was begun (Plot IX) in October 1914 and during the winter of 1914-15 it was used for civilian burials (later removed), the town cemetery at Le Bizet being too greatly exposed. The cemetery continued to be used by field ambulances and fighting units (particularly the 4th, 6th, 21st, New Zealand, 17th and 57th (West Lancashire) Divisions and the Australian Corps) until April 1918. Plots V, VI, VII and X were then used by the Germans.

The cemetery now contains 2,132 Commonwealth burials of the First World War. In 1925, 455 German graves were removed from Plots V and VI, but more than 500 remain in the cemetery.


1. Commonwealth War Graves Commission web site