family note courtesy of Marian.
Born: 1898, Ipswich.
Died: 2nd May 1915; age 17; Died at Manchester Military Hospital, from shrapnel wounds received at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle.
Residence: Surrey Road, Ipswich.
Employed: as a Van Driver by the Anglo-American Oil Company.
Date of Entry Therein: 8th November 1914 – France.
Rank: Private; Service Number: 2021;
Regiment: Suffolk Regiment, 4th Battalion.
Medals Awarded: Victory, British War & 1914 Star.
- 4. 34.
Relatives Notified & Address: Son of William Thomas & Elizabeth Ann Jordan, of 96, Surrey Road, Ipswich.
Nephew to JOHN JORDAN.
1901 25, Church Lane, Ipswich.
John was 3 years old and living with his parents.
William Thomas Jordan, 27, a General Labourer, born Ipswich.
Elizabeth Ann Jordan (nee Coleman), 28, born Ipswich.
William Henry Jordan, 5, born Ipswich.
Beatrice Maud Jordan, 8 months, born Ipswich.
1911 96, Surrey Road, Ipswich.
John was 13 years old, an Errand Boy. He was living with his parents & siblings.
William, 37, a Dustman.
William, 15, a Factory Hand – Corset Manufacturer.
George Joseph Jordan, 8, born Ipswich.
James Valentine Jordan, 2, born Ipswich.
Soldiers’ Effects to Elizabeth Jordan – mother.
4th SUFFOLK’S FUNERAL AT IPSWICH.
The funeral took place at the Ipswich Cemetery on Saturday of Prvt. John Alfred Jordan, of the 4th Suffolks, who died in hospital at Manchester of wounds received at the battle of Neuve Chapelle. The body was brought by rail to deceased’s parents’ house in Surrey Road, whence it was conveyed to the cemetery on a gun-carriage drawn by six horses furnished from the R.F. Barracks. In addition to the parents and near relatives, there were present a detachment of about forty of deceased’s comrades, under Major Money, V.D., 2/1th Battalion Suffolk Regiment, and Coy.-Sergt.-Major White. There was also a firing party of twelve privates and two N.C.O.’s under Sergt. C. Roberts. Practically all of the 4th Suffolks present had seen service in France with deceased, and are home recovering from wounds sustained in the action where Prvt. Jordan was wounded. On arrival at the church in the Cemetery the coffin was met by the Rev. S.W. Key, vicar of All Saints’, in whose parish deceased, who prior to going to France was employed as van driver by the Anglo-American Oil Company, resided. After the committal service, the usual three volleys were discharged over the grave, after which the “Last Post” was sounded. The floral tributes, which were numerous and beautiful, included wreaths from the parents, two grandmothers, sisters, his comrades in the 4th Suffolks, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Mr. and Mrs. Horace L. Roberts, Mrs. Thorpe and family, Harold Hines, friends and neighbours, and friends at the Royal William.
A family note:
John Alfred Jordan was transported back to England and treated for a shrapnel wound in the back at Manchester Military Hospital. After an initial recovery he wrote this letter to his employer (Ipswich Depot of the Anglo-American Oil Company)
“I received a nasty wound in the back during the big advance at Neuve Chapelle. It is a nasty wound, two inches deep and the nurse can get her two fingers in the space. The doctor told me it was a very narrow escape; had it been an eighth of an inch to the left it would have smashed my spine; as it is it only just touched it, but I cannot bend my back yet. I shall not forget the day the doctor took the piece of shrapnel from my back, the pain was awful every time he touched the bone. I shall bring the piece of shrapnel home as a souvenir.
How I came to get the wound in my back was not by running away, as some people have suggested. We were advancing over open ground and the Germans were putting such heavy fire into us that we were ordered to lie down; the Germans could not then get us with the rifle, so they started shelling us for half an hour, and then i was hit by a shell bursting just in front of me. It caught several others lying near and I am fortunate to be alive.
People would not believe the sensations you get when being shelled – it is a horrible feeling. I know that nearly every man in my Section sent a prayer up to Heaven; at least I know I did.”
This letter was printed in the Suffolk Chronicle and Star 2 April 1915.
By 1 May, John Alfred was dead. He was brought back to Ipswich and given a military funeral at Ipswich Cemetery, attended by 40 comrades who had been wounded at the same battle.
There is a description and photograph in the Chronicle and Star. On the anniversary of his death in 1918 the following appeared in the paper:
“In loving memory of my dear son, Pte John Alfred Jordan, Suffolk Regiment of 96 Surrey Road, Ipswich, who received wounds at Neuve Chapelle and died at Manchester Hospital 1st May 1915
Three years have passed but still we miss him
Some may think the wound has healed
They little know how deep the sorrow
That lies within our hearts concealed
We think of him in silence
And his name we oft recall
But there is nothing left to answer
Only his photo on the wall
From his loving Father, Mother, Brothers and Sister”
The Battle of Neuve Chapelle 10th – 13th March 1915 was the first planned British offensive of the war. The objective was to take the German line at the Village of Neueve Chapelle and break out and head towards the City of Lille, with the main objective taking the Aubers Ridge beyond which was of strategic value. The Battle started well with a heavy bombardment of the German line (more shells fired on this occasion than the entire Boer War) with an advance which successfully took most of the first and second line trenches, but due to poor communications stalled once the village had been taken. The Germans then had time to set up more defensive lines outside of the village and hold the British advance. 40,000 British and Indian troops took part in the Battle with over 10,000+ Casualties.
Suffolk Regiment, 4th Battalion
The 4th Battalion the Suffolk Regiment entered the battle on the 11th of March taking up positions on the out skirts of the Neuve Chapelle facing the Bois Du Biez which later were ordered to occupy. The 4th Battalion lost many men through shelling on their positions followed by a counter attack on the 12th by the Germans. In total the Battalion sustained 217 casualties.