Private, Royal Fusiliers, 2nd Bn.
Service no. L/12725
Died on 25 April 1915, aged 31.
Remembered at Helles Memorial, Turkey
Chris Burge writes:
John (aka Jack) Jordan was born in Hammersmith in 1883, the fifth child of parents George Thomas and Mary Ann Jordan. John’s father was a self-employed jeweller. In the 1891 census the Jordan family were living in two rooms at 4 Broomgrove Road, off Stockwell Road, an area described as ‘very poor’ in social surveyor Charles Booth’s 1890s map of London.
The family’s fortunes had not improved in the following decade with the birth of a further six children. When John’s youngest sibling Violet was baptised in April 1900 at St John the Divine, Kennington, the family were living at 7 Thompsons Avenue, in one of the poorest parts of Camberwell. John’s father George, aged 42, died later in the same year leaving Mary Ann to support seven young children with the help of her four children of working age. In the 1901 census, the Jordan family were still living at 7 Thompsons Avenue; Mary was working as a collar ironer and the family of 12 lived in just three rooms in a property which housed two other families in four other rooms, making a total of 23 people at this address. The family’s situation deteriorated to the point that some of Mary’s youngest children were briefly taken into care and John’s younger brother Frank, aged 11, was sent to the Training Ship HMS Exmouth where he stayed for three years.
By the time of the 1911 census, the Jordan family were living in three rooms at 4 Nealdon Street, Stockwell, a property which also housed a greengrocer’s family of seven in five other rooms. When Mary, now aged 49, completed the census return her household consisted of: Alfred, 26, a self-employed fishmonger; Frank, 19, who was in ‘Army Reserves (Private 6th Rifle Bde)’; Albert, 17, a carman; Letty, 13; and Violet, 11. and Albert was a carman for the L.P.D. company.
Jack was over 4,000 miles away in India. He had joined the regular Army around 1907, serving as Private L/12725 of the Royal Fusiliers whose 2nd Battalion had been posted to India in 1908 and were based at Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh. In the 1911 census, Jack was counted as in the Hugh Rose barracks at Jabalpur. Jack’s battalion did not return to England until December 1914. By March 1915 orders were received to move to an eastern destination as the battalion was to be part of the ill-fated Gallipoli Campaign.
The 2nd Bn. Royal Fusiliers were the first to land on beach ‘X’ on 25 April 1915. Unlike at other beaches, they faced little opposition until after scrambling up the cliffs and moving inland. For several days there was no respite in the fighting. The battalion had started with 26 officers and 948 other ranks but by 30 April 1915 were reduced to 12 officers and 481 other ranks. Jack Jordan was killed in action on the day he landed on Gallipoli. He is listed in the records of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as ‘Jordon’.
1915 was a bleak year for the Jordan family. John’s younger brother Frank was killed in action on 25 September 1915 in Belgium and his brother Albert was killed in action in France on 19 October 1915.
By the end of the war, Mary Jordan was had returned to the familiar surroundings of Broomgrove Road and lived with Alfred, Letty and Violet at number 19, which remained their home into the 1930s.