Private Jack Tandy, “B” Company, 11th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, was killed in action on 16th November 1916 at the age of 20. He was born in Knowle on 3rd October 1896 and was baptised four days later at Knowle parish church on 7th October. He was the youngest of the three sons of parents Joseph, a farm labourer from Barston, and Elizabeth (née Cooper) from Knowle. The couple married in Knowle on 3rd February 1889. His two brothers both died as infants – Joseph William Tandy died in December 1890, aged 17 months, whilst Archie James Edwin died in June 1896, aged 14 months. Elizabeth must have been some five months pregnant with Jack, when her son Archie died.
Tragically, Elizabeth seems to have died as a result of childbirth, being herself buried at Knowle churchyard on 12th October 1896, nine days after Jack’s birth. She was 36 years old.
After his mother’s death, Jack seems to have been brought up by his mother’s family. Aged four, the 1901 census shows his widowed father, Joseph, living with his brother and their widowed mother in Barston, whilst Jack (listed as John Cooper) was living with his widowed maternal grandmother, Hannah Cooper, and her unmarried children, in Hampton Lane, Knowle. He was still there in 1911, aged 14, living with his unmarried aunt, Mary Ann Cooper. Also living with the family on both censuses, was Jack’s first cousin, Thomas Cooper, who was killed in action on 1st July 1916.
Unpublished research by the late Alan Tucker notes that Jack Tandy was a member of the choir at Knowle parish church and a Sunday School teacher, as well as being active in the scouts and the Institute. Jack’s service record hasn’t survived but his medal index card shows no entitlement to a 1914 or 1914/15 Star suggesting that he didn’t serve overseas before 1916.
He was killed in action on 16th November 1916 and has no known grave. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial as well as in the Soldiers’ Chapel, hymn boards and choir stalls at Knowle parish church. The plaque in the choir stalls gives his date of death of 14th November, and notes that he was also an organ blower at the church. The Register of Soldiers’ Effects lists his next-of-kin as Joseph, his father.
Joseph had remarried in 1902, and is listed on the 1911 census living with his second wife, Emily Maria (née Preston), in a one-room dwelling in Barston. It seems that Joseph died, aged 58, in 1922. Emily remarried in 1926, and died in 1961, aged 83.
If you have any more information about the family, please let us know.
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