27th October 1918

28-year-old Company Quartermaster Sergeant George Ernest Jenks, Canadian Railway Troops, died of pleural pneumonia at the Camp Hospital, Niagara on 27th October 1918 after suffering from influenza.

He was born in Bentley Heath, Solihull on 5th September 1890 and was the second of the six children (four sons, two daughters) of parents, John (a gardener from Tettenhall, Staffordshire) and Annie Marie (née Mason), who had married at St Alphege Church, Solihull in 1888. Two of the couple’s children died in infancy – eldest child, Charles Henry, died in June 1890, aged nine months, and youngest child, Samuel, died in November 1894, aged four days.

By 1911, the family had moved from Bentley Heath to Erdington, where mother, Annie Maria, was a shopkeeper running a pork butcher’s shop, assisted by her 15-year-old daughter, Doris Elizabeth Mary. 20-year-old George was working as a grocer.

In 1913, George emigrated to Canada, and was working as a store manager in Cobalt, Ontario when he enlisted in the Army in June 1917. In November 1917, he became ill worrying about his work as a chief cook to a large body of men. His service record notes that he

has gradually lost control of his emotions and has been troubled with sleeplessness. He has severe headaches, frontal in character. Has lost weight and feels weak.

The headaches continued into January 1918, but he was sleeping better and had gained weight. It was reported that his Sergeant Major had found a new position for him, and that it would be to his advantage to be in a congenial place where he gets open air exercise.

He was admitted to hospital on 5th October 1918 suffering from influenza followed by pleural pneumonia. His service record notes on 26th October that his condition was “much better this morning”, although he died at 7:45am the next day. He had written a will on 1st October 1918, leaving everything to his widow, Muriel Kate Jenks (née Tittensor) whom he had married on 24th September 1917. He was buried on 31st October 1918 at Toronto (Mount Pleasant) Cemetery, Ontario.

His widow remarried in 1927 and died in Canada in 1978, aged 86.

If you have any further information, please let us know.

Tracey
Heritage & Local Studies Librarian

tel.: 0121 704 6977
email: heritage@solihull.gov.uk

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