Jenkins, Ronald

I found Ronald Jenkins  when I added “Saltney” to the search field on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, and the additional information came up – Son of Edward & Doris Jenkins, of Saltney, Chester.  Personal Inscription SLEEP ON, DEAR SON YOUR LIFE FOR FREEDOM YOU NOBLY GAVE. MOTHER, FATHER, ERIC, GORDON.   I do not think he is on any memorial and he must be remembered.

I believe that Ronald Jenkins was born in the June quarter of 1925 (Hawarden Vol. 11b Page 349), the eldest son of Edward A. & Doris M. Jenkins (nee Yarwood), who were married in St. Paul’s Church, Helsby, Cheshire (Cheshire West 129/2/47) in the September quarter of 1923.

Sadly I know very little about Ronald’s early years, but we do see him in the 1939 National Register, which was taken on the 29th September 1939, living at 16 Salisbury Avenue, Chester, Hawarden R.D., Flintshire, Wales.   This source gives us the dates of birth, and occupations.

Ronald’s father is not on this, so I do not know where he was on that day, but Doris M. Jenkins, Ronald’s mother, was described as a married woman, born on the 13th April 1898 and as most married women who did have a job, was described as doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.”   Ronald Jenkins date of birth is shown as the 28th April 1925, he was single and a “Van Boy on CWS Bread Vans.”   Gordon Jenkins, Ronald’s brother, had been born on the 28th December 1932 and was “At School.”   The next record was redacted or officially closed.*  Was this Eric Jenkins?

* The National Register tells us :- ”For individual people, records remain closed for a century after their birth (the 100-year rule), unless it can be proven that they passed away before this milestone.”

I cannot find any certain information on Ronald’s father, perhaps he was working away on the 29th September 1939, so any information would be gratefully received.

This information is in keeping with the Commonwealth War Graves citation above.    I believe that his missing sibling was possibly Eric Jenkins, born in the December quarter of 1927 (Hawarden Vol.    11b) and there is a query on this as his mother’s maiden name on the BMD document shows as Garwood, (see below) and is handwritten, so I believe that this is the Eric referred to on the Citation.   I found also a Doris M. Jenkins with the mother’s maiden name as Yarwood, but I don’t know if this child also belongs. (Hawarden Vol. 11b Page 268).  Any information would be gratefully received so Ronald’s story of his sacrifice won’t be forgotten.

At the time of the National Register in 1939 Ronald would have been only about 14 years old, and I do not know when he enlisted or was conscripted, but he was to find himself in the 2nd Bn. East Yorkshire Regiment by 1944 and this led to him being in the midst of D-Day in the June of that year, he was only 20 years old then.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission History information on his citation tells us:-

The Allied offensive in north-western Europe began with the Normandy landings of 6 June 1944. The village of Hermanville lay behind Sword beach and was occupied early on 6 June by men of the South Lancashire regiment. Later the same day, the Shropshire Light Infantry supported by the armour of the Staffordshire Yeomanry managed to reach and hold Bieville-Benville, four kilometres to the south of Hermanville. Many of those buried in Hermanville War Cemetery died on 6 June or during the first days of the drive towards Caen. The cemetery contains 1,003 Second World War burials, 103 of them unidentified.

This gives us the information that Ronald was in the midst of the fighting at Sword Beach:-

D-Day: The Beaches. – Sword Beach. Sword stretched five miles from Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer to Ouistreham at the mouth of the River Orne. Nine miles north of Caen, it was a major route hub of Northern France. With help from French and British commandos, the Brits landed 29,000men from its 2nd Army, 1st Corps and suffered just 630 casualties. Divided into Oboe, Peter, Queen and Roger zones – Please see the video on the above website – very interesting.

3rd (GB) Infantry Division

Battle order – June 1st, 1944 – Battle of Normandy

8th Infantry Brigade: Brigadier E. E. Cass

1st Battalion Suffolk Regiment: Lieutenant Colonel R. E. Goodwin

A Company : Captain Ryley, killed on June 6th, 1944

B Company: Major Mac Caffrey

C Company: Major Charles Boycott

D Company: Major Philip Papillon, killed on June 28th, 1944

2nd Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment: Lieutenant Colonel G. F. Hutchinson, wounded on June 6th, 1944

A Company: Major C. K. King

D Company: Major Barber, killed on June 6th, 1944

1st Battalion South Lancashire Regiment: Lieutenant Colonel R. P. H. Burbury, killed on June 6th, 1944

A Company: Major Harward, killed on June 6th, 1944, replaced by Lieutenant R. W. Pearce, wounded on June 6th, 1944

B Company: Major Harrison, killed on June 6th, 1944, replaced by Lieutenant B. Walker, killed on June 6th, 1944

C Company: Major Eric Johnson

D Company: Major J. Egglinton, wounded on June 6th, 1944

Excerpt from the above:- Committed units – The British of the 8th Brigade (belonging to the 3rd Infantry Division) and the Commandos (numbers 4, 6, 8, 10, 41 and 45) of the 1st Special Service Brigade (including Commando No.4 with the 177 French marines, commanded by Commandant Kieffer) who will land on Sword Beach. These allied forces are under command of the 1st Corps, led by the British Lieutenant General John Crocker.

The beach is divided into four main areas, from the west to the east: “Oboe”, “Peter”, “Queen” and “Roger”.

Casualty List (Page 12) tells us that 14617334 Jenkins Pte. R  was posted as wounded, but a written note by his name tells us that he Died of Wounds on the 6th June 1944.

Casualty List 1498 (Page 21) – 14617334 Jenkins Pte. R. – Previously reported Wounded, now reported Died of Wounds.- 6th June 1944.

Although there is no Saltney or Saltney Ferry WW2 War Memorial or Roll of Honour to my knowledge, I found that Ronald is remembered on this website: –

Ronald’s mother was alive to bear the grief of the loss of her eldest son, she died in the September quarter of 1970.  The date of birth shown on this document (15 Apr 1898) is slightly different to the date of birth on the 1939 National Register, but I do believe that this is the right Doris May Jenkins, see below. (Cheshire Vol: 10a Page: 457).

Ronald was very much missed and loved by his family, his death made more tragic because of his courage at his young age to have had to face such danger and to lose his life for us to have freedom, he must not be forgotten.

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