Jack was baptized in the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Barker’s Lane, (Aston-on-Mersey, Chester) (Page 30 No. 104 Jack s/o John & Sarah Jane Whitelegg 6, Hyde Grove, Roebuck Lane, Sale born 20th September 1897. Henry Oyston)
Jack appears for the first time on a census in 1901.He was living with his family at Priory Bank Cottage, Dane Road, Sale, Cheshire. His father, John Whitelegg 32 was a Signalman on the Railway, born in Cadishead, Lancashire. His wife Sarah J. Whitelegg, 31 had been born in Harwood, Lancashire. Their listed children were Sidney, 4 and Jack, 3. They had both been born in Sale, Cheshire.
By the 1911 census the family had moved to Station House Penmaenmawr, Carnarvonshire. Head of the household was John Whitelegge, 42 a Railway Signalman for the L & N.W. His wife of 16 years, Sarah Jane, was 41 and had borne 5 children but sadly 1 had died. The listed children were Annie Bentley Whitelegge, 15, a Stationers Assistant. Jack, 13, was a Stationers’s Errand Boy, Bessie, 8* and Stanley Ormrod 6. Sydney was not listed.
* Bessie was to go to Hawarden County School and her entry in the Admissions Register reads – Bessie Whitelegge, Father’s name – J. Whitlegge, occupation Station Master. Date of birth 20th December 1902. Date of admission – 14th September 1915. Date of leaving 22nd July 1921. Previous school – Broughton C of E. Went to Bangor Normal College. Occupation Teacher (crossed out).
( I believe that Sydney was the child who died, possibly in 1902, as there is a death registered of a 6 year old Sidney Whitelegg Prestwich Vol 8d Page 215).
Jack was to follow his father in his employment, I found Jack’s employment records on UK, Railway Employment Records, 1833-1956.
Jack was employed as a Junior Clerk, with the London and North Western Company at Crewe Station. His employment started on the 3rd February 1913 at £25 a year. This went up to £30 a year on the 3rd February 1914, rising to £35 on the 20th September 1914. On the 19th June 1914 he left and the entry just states” To Calveley” This meant Calveley Station
Jack was transferred from Crewe on the 19th June 1914. His pay structure was already mapped out. His weekly wage from 20th June 1914 was going to be £35. It would rise to £40 on the 20th September 1915. It would rise again to £50 on the 20th September 1916. His wage would become £60 on the 20th September 1917. In fact, Jack enlisted in November 1915 and served until his death in 1917.
UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk confirms the Regimental information and tells us that Jack’s birthplace was Chester and his residence was Broughton. His medal card, also on ‘Ancestry’ details his medals and tells us that he had a previous Regimental number in the Royal Field Artillery, (3226). This source confirms his death date a s 31st July 1917
Jack’s Commonwealth War Grave Certificate (There’s a link to it at the bottom of this page), says that his parents were living at The Station House in Padeswood, Mold. This states his death date as 31st July 1917
Unusually, there are two index cards for Jack in The Flintshire Roll of Honour in The County Record Office in Hawarden.
The first one (Card Saltney Ferry, F35) gives the address Broughton Station, Chester. It then gives his regimental details which are different from all other sources. (He says he was Private 676427 275 in Brigade. 55 Div. N. Lancs) The card says he served for 2 years and was Missing & Deceased on the 31st July 1917. The card was signed by E.L.Roberts. (Possibly Jack’s brother in law, married to Annie Benley Whitelegge)
The second card (Card Hawarden F35) gives the address Station House, Broughton, Chester. This card says he was Private 676427 in the Land R.F.A. Regiment. It says he served from November 1915 to July 31st 1917. He was wounded & reported missing at the Battle of Ypres. On the reverse of the card was written ‘Rank Bombardier R.F.A. 55 West Lancs. Division 278th Bdge. Death officially assumed June 1918. Please note his Register name was Jack’. This card was signed by J. Whitelegge, January 13th 1920. (His father John?) All other sources say his death date was 31st July 1917. Is it possible that the family was not officially told until June 1918?
Jack’s name on the Menin Gate, photo taken on the 16th April 2016 by Mavis Williams
Jack is also remembered on the Broughton War Memorial and also commemorated on the memorial at Bretton Methodist Chapel and in the “Fallen” Cards for Saltney Ferry, of the Flintshire WW1 Index Cards held at Hawarden Record Office.