Lieutenant Herbert Llewellyn Jenkins RE

On the fringe of the Military Cemetery behind Christ Church next to the hedge is a marble grave stone marking the last resting place of Lt Herbert Llewellyn Jenkins who was an Officer in the Royal Engineers. Herbert was not buried in a military grave with a War Graves Commission military style headstone but in a grave arranged and funded by his family who had nonetheless wanted him close to his military compatriots who had died in World War 1. A report of his funeral published at the time in the Portsmouth Evening News states that he had been seriously ill for some time and died in a Southsea Nursing Home on 15th April 1935 aged 53 years. It appears that Lt Jenkins was the Assistant Inspector Royal Engineers Machinery based at Milldam Barracks. This barracks has long since gone, but some buildings from that era still exist at Milldam Road which is the location today of Portsmouth Registry Office. The report also states that Lt Jenkins lived at 9 Brunel Road, Hilsea, with his wife Rose Jenkins, this was no doubt a military married quarter as Brunel Road, Hilsea was close to Hilsea Barracks which occupied the area at the time around the area of Green Farm which is now a large Travel Lodge and pub on Copnor Road. Accompanying his widow, Rose, as mourners at the funeral, were his son and two daughters, also in attendance were two brothers and a sister with their spouses. Official mourners included the CRE (Chief Royal Engineer) East Wessex Area, Lt Col A.J. Cruikshank D.S.O., Lt Col A.N. Paxton D.S.O, M.C. (Retired), also seven other R.E. officers from his unit with other ranks and members of the civilian staff of Milldam Barracks. Also in attendance were Dr. Lancelot Sells and Mr. R.H. Waite representing the Zetland Lodge of Freemasons, No. 523 Malta. The service was conducted by the Revd. K.F. Power C.F. and three volleys were fired over the grave. Full military honours had been accorded to the deceased, the casket being borne on a gun carriage drawn by six horses from The York and Lancaster Regiment, upon the casket was a Union Flag surmounted by the late officers cap, sword, medals and belt along with floral tributes from his family. The procession was led by a band and firing party from The Royal Artillery Portsmouth and Gosport also a detachment from 4th Fortress Company Royal Engineers, Gosport commanded by Lt A. Godfry RE. Lt. Herbert Jenkins who had served for 30 years in the army held the South African Campaign Medal and the three medals awarded for the Great War (WW1), proof that he had been at the sharp end in the Boer War as a younger man and later in the conflict of WW1 and all its horrors. The fact that he was a low ranking officer at the age of 53 would seem to indicate that he received a Quarter Master Commission later in his career having served in the ranks up to the level of Warrant Officer. He was probably trained earlier in his career as a Foreman of Works in the Royal Engineers as a Quarter Master Sergeant, only officers of that background and experience would be responsible for machinery and mechanical equipment operated by the Sappers as they were known.

To have been accorded the type of funeral he was given at a military cemetery, attended by his family and distinguished mourners and masonic members, Herbert Llewellen Jenkins was obviously a highly respected and loved soldier, husband, father, brother and comrade-in-arms. His gravestone bears the epitaph “Until the Dawn”.

Grave of Lieutenant Herbert Llewellyn Jenkins RE

Keith Fisher (CCP Historian), with Acknowledgements to the Portsmouth Evening News ( April 1935)