JENKS, Alan Robert Constantine (MC)

Major, 61st Field Coy., Royal Engineers

Born

April 1891.
Son of Edward Jenks, Principal of the Law Society and Annie Jenks (decd).

Education

Blundell’s School: in “Petergate” from September 1903 to Summer 1907, arriving at the age of 12.
City and Guilds College at Kensington.
London University.

Service

At the outbreak of war he had just completed his student career as a civil engineer, having taken a science degree with first class honours at London University. He volunteered immediately and was given a commission in the first R.E. Field Company of the New Armies. He went to the front in 1915 and was awarded the Military Cross for a reconnaissance at Hooge the following month. His citation read “Temporary Second Lieutenant Alan Robert Constantine Jenks, 61st Field Company, Royal Engineers. For Conspicuous gallantry and ability on 30th July 1915, at Hooge. He made a valuable reconnaissance of the enemy’s trenches, and in the evening fight displayed great personal dash, initiative and resource.” Shortly afterwards he was attached as RE adjutant with the rank of Captain to a divisional headquarters where he served till May 1916. He was then given independent command as major of a field company. Four days before his death, he was recommended for a distinction, his brigadier writing “He was simply invaluable. He is absolutely fearless, has unbounded energy and gets more done than any officer I have ever met. He knew every shell hole in the front line; but as all his work is done at night, few of us knew how much he got through. He was a splendid example to everyone and the infantry have the greatest admiration for him.”

The Offensive

The Salient was formed during the First Battle of Ypres in October and November 1914. The Second Battle of Ypres began in April 1915 when the Germans released poison gas into the Allied lines north of Ypres. This was the first time gas had been used by either side and the violence of the attack forced an Allied withdrawal and a shortening of the line of defence. There was little more significant activity on this front until 1917, when in the Third Battle of Ypres an offensive was mounted by Commonwealth forces to divert German attention from a weakened French front further south. The initial attempt in June to dislodge the Germans from the Messines Ridge was a complete success, but the main assault north-eastward, which began at the end of July, quickly became a dogged struggle against determined opposition and the rapidly deteriorating weather. The campaign finally came to a close in November with the capture of Passchendaele.

Death

31st July 1917.
Whilst on a reconnaissance during that afternoon, he fell to a sniper.

Burial/Commemoration

L. 5.
Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery, Ypres, Belgium.

Memorial

The Cemetery is North-East of Kemmel Village, 8km South of Ypres. It was established in the grounds of the chateau in December 1914 and continued to be used by divisions fighting in the southern sectors of the Belgian front until March 1918.

Research

Commonwealth War Graves Commission - www.cwgc.org
Public Records Office, National Archives, Kew: Medal Rolls: WO372/
“The Blundellian”; November 1917, p337
“The Register of Blundell's School, Part II 1882 – 1932” (1932) MAHOOD, A.S., Ed. Entry No.4949
Cemeteries & Memorials in Belgium & Northern France (2004) Commonwealth War Graves Commission. 5/106
“The London Gazette”, Gazette Issue 29286 published on 3rd Sept 1915, page 4 of 30. www.gazettes-online.co.uk/index.asp?webType=0

 

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