John Charles Jarvis was born and brought up in Widford and became a bricklayer by profession. In married in May 1912 and had two sons. He joined the army early in the war and landed in France in September 1915. He was killed in action near Ypres in June 1916. A brother was also killed during the war.

John was born in Widford on 18th August 1884, the son of John Jarvis (1851–1915) and Elizabeth Jarvis (nee Porter) (1850–1908). He was christened at St. Mary's Church, Widford on 28th September 1884 at which time his father was a labourer living in Widford.


Sapper, 129th Field Company, Royal Engineers

On 25th May 1912 John married Emily Violet Dear (1888 – 1973) at the Register Office in Chelmsford. At the time he was aged 27. employed as a journeyman bricklayer. and lived at 13 Wood Street in Chelmsford. His wife was aged 24. a domestic servant, who lived at 27 Upper Bridge Road in Chelmsford.

The couple went on to have two sons. John Isaac Jarvis (1913 – 2006) and William Victor Jarvis (1915 – 1992).

Presumably because of his building industry background by September 1914 John joined the Royal Engineers where her served as sapper 95515. He landed in France on 1st September 1915 and was killed in action on 26th June 1916 while with the 129th Field Company. Today John lies in grave M44 at Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery In Belgium, six miles from Ypres.

John's family was not without tragedy: Around 4 p.m. on 31st March 1915 John's widowed father was found dead, hanging by a neckerchief from a nail in the washroom at the back his premises in Widford by his neighbour Miss Ethel Tarbun. An inquest into the 64 year-old's death took place the following afternoon at the Rising Sun public house in Chelmsford where Mrs. Ethel Dance, daughter of the deceased said that she had been keeping for her father for six until the previous Tuesday, when she left him because was so unkind to her. The parting appeared to have upset her father who 'had been very strange his mind for some time, and had several times threatened to drown himself or go on the railway line.'  The Jury found a verdict of Suicide temporarily insane.

John’s brother, Harry was killed in action at Arras on 18th July 1917. Another brother, George, was killed in 1918 when he was knocked off his bicycle in New Street, Chelmsford and run over by a petrol tanker. Their brother-in-law, James Stivans Sach (husband of Ellen Kate Jarvis), was killed during the First World War and is commemorated by the Civic Centre Memorial in Chelmsford while their nephew, Robert George Dance was to be killed in the Second World War.

John is commemorated on the Widford War Memorial at St. Mary's Church. He was entitled to the 1915 Star, Victory and British War medals.

Spain’s Croft became part of the Borough of Chelmsford when parts of Widford were absorbed into an expanded Borough in 1934 - prior to that the boundary between the two had run largely down the centre of what is now Widford Road with the parish on the northern side and the Borough on the southern.


John's siblings included George William Jarvis (1871–1918), Alfred James Jarvis (born 1874), Alice Elizabeth Jarvis (born 1876), Ellen Kate Jarvis (1879–1945), Elizabeth Mary Jarvis (1882–1883), Florence Jubilee Jarvis (born 1887), Martha Ethel Jarvis (1890–1965), Harry Jarvis (1894 – 1917) and William Thomas Jarvis (1897–1977).

The 1891 census found six year-old John living with his parents and six siblings at 5 Spain's Croft in Widford where his father was a brick maker.

In 1901 the census recorded John, aged 16, living with his parents and three sibling at Sidings Cottages, Widford. He was then a brick maker like his father

By the time of the 1911 census John, aged 27 and employed as a bricklayer, was lodging with the family of the railway plate layer, William Stewart at Laindon Common. Meanwhile his widowed father and three siblings were resident at 5 Spain's Croft in Widford.