Jonathan (who was also known as Jack) Vaughan was born on 8th November 1886, his parents Jonathan Vaughan and Elizabeth Davies were both born in Wales and married in 1872 in Pontypool Monmouthshire. In 1881 Jonathan senior was working in Llanelly as a ‘Puddler’ (this was a job in an Iron Works).
The family moved to Whittington sometime before 1886 as Jonathan was born in Whittington, and on the 1891 census the family are shown as living at 38 Sheffield Road where Jonathan senior is now classed as an Iron Worker. Jonathan (Jack) had three sisters and two brothers.
Jonathan started school at Webster’s Endowed Infants School (Later Whittington Moor Infants) on 13th March 1893 and according to the admissions log book below, the family were then living at Sheepbridge View.
Jonathan remained at the Infants until 31st January 1895 when he was transferred, presumably to the junior school.
By 1901 some of Jonathans siblings had left home. His sisters Susan and Margaret had both married and his younger brother Henry was living with Margaret and her family. His elder brother David had also left home and whilst I haven’t yet traced him in 1901, in 1911 he was working in Bolton as an Ironworker, same occupation as his father. The remaining family were now living at 15 Back Lane, Newbold St Johns and Jonathan (Jack) was working as a coal miner/hewer at the young age of 14 years.
Very sadly for the family, in 1902 at 50 years of age Jonathan senior died, and was buried in Newbold churchyard on 5th May. The address given in the burial register was Cavendish Square, the family had now moved to Sheepbridge.
The family had remained at Cavendish Square as the 1911 census shows. Henry had returned home and all the children remaining were now working. Elizabeth had taken in a lodger, which was common at this time to make ends meet.
1911 was a good year for Jonathan when he married Alathea Lander and they set up home in Bamford Street New Whittington. On July 8th 1914 their son, Jonathan, was born. He was baptised at Chesterfield Parish Church on August 29th 1914.
Jonathan would have enlisted not long after his son’s birth, unfortunately many service records were destroyed in 1940 and there is now no way to confirm the exact date of his enlistment. We do know he enlisted in Chesterfield in the 8th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers and his service number was 19187.
The 8th (Service) Battalion was formed in Newcastle in August 1914 and was part of Kitcheners New army (K1), they moved to Grantham and came under orders of 11th Northern Division.
The Battalion landed in Gallipoli on 7th August 1915 and took part in various actions against the Turkish army, however according to Jonathans medal record card, he didn’t arrive in the Balkans until 19th November 1915.
Due to severe casualties from combat, disease and harsh weather the Battalion were evacuated from Gallipoli to Egypt in January 1916, and then moved to defend the Suez Canal.
The division received orders in June 1916 for a move to France. They left Alexandria on 3rd July and by 27th July the division had taken over part of the front in the Third army sector. Jonathan would have arrived in the middle of the Somme Offensive and would have probably taken part in The Battle of Flers-Courcelette and The Battle of Thiepval.
The Battle of Flers-Courcelette 15th September- 22nd September 1916 is remembered as the first time the tank was used by the British in Battle. Due to breakdowns, out of 48 tanks available only a dozen managed to join in with the attack, however, they must have been an imposing and surprising sight. More information can be read at
In 1917 11th Division took part in the
Operations on the Ancre
The Battle of Messines
The Battle of the Langemarck
The Battle of Langemarck was part of the third battle of Ypres,(later known as Passchendaele) and took place between 16-18th August 1917. The weather in the area since the beginning of August had been atrocious, this delayed the Battle by 24 hours. At 4.45am on 16 August, elements of eight British divisions attacked the German positions around the Ypres-Menin road to the north of the village of Langemarck, while the French First Army attacked north of the village. Four days of fierce fighting resulted in a British victory; the gains were small, however, for the high number of casualties incurred.
Jonathan (Jack) Vaughan was killed in action on 16th August 1917, he was 30 years old. I can’t definitely confirm that Jonathan died in this Battle, but the battalion he served in was involved and there is a very good chance that this is where Jonathan died.
Jonathan is buried at New Irish Farm Cemetery https://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/52200/new-irish-farm-cemetery/
He was originally buried where he fell but his body was exhumed and reburied later in New Irish Farm Cemetery, he was recorded as an unknown soldier but was eventually identified by two discs.
New Irish Farm Pictures taken July 2019, courtesy of A J Taylor
There was a newspaper report in the Derbyshire Courier 22nd September 1917 giving details of Jonathans (Jacks) death, the transcript is below:
WHITTINGTON MAN KILLED
Information has been communicated by the Rev, R. Strong, chaplain to the forces, to Mrs. A Vaughan, 2, Bamford Street, New Whittington, that her husband Private Jack Vaughan, Northumberland Fusiliers, was killed in action on 16 August. The letter states: “The battalion had a difficult piece of work to do, and unfortunately suffered heavy losses, including your husband’s company commander (Captain Ash) and many of his intimate comrades. I speak for very many when I say how much your husband’s loss is regretted in the battalion, where he had made many friends.”
Jonathan was awarded the British War and Victory medals along with the 14/15 Star. He is remembered on the Old Whittington, New Whittington and The Brushes war memorials.
Jonathan left behind his wife Alathea and young son Jonathan.