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Mystery of the First World War soldier is solved

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THE mystery over the life of a soldier whose First World War medals were handed in at a Jersey recycling facility has been solved.

Mr and Mrs Nunn’s registration cards Picture: Jersey Heritage (22770052)

After the medals were found among household items taken to Acorn Enterprise’s Reuse Centre at La Collette, the social enterprise’s strategy and risk manager David Rose made an appeal in the JEP to find out more about their original recipient.

As his wartime records had been destroyed in a bombing raid in the Second World War, all Mr Rose could discover was that the soldier was Private Jonathan Nunn, who had served in the 15th (Suffolk Yeomanry) Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment.

Information subsequently received from Jersey Archive and the Lancashire Infantry Museum has established that after the First World War, Mr Nunn and his wife, Nancy, made their home in Jersey.

After reading the story in Monday’s JEP, the Archive’s records manager Emily Le Feuvre contacted Mr Rose.

‘I’ve just read your story in the JEP about Private Nunn and thought you might be interested to know that a quick search on our catalogue shows that it seems he was in Jersey during the Occupation as he had a registration card,’ she wrote.

‘The details seem to match up with the information you have, as on it, it states he was born in Stowmarket, Suffolk on 10 April 1895 and was working during the Occupation as a boot repairer.

‘His blue registration form records his service as a private in the Army, retiring in January 1919. Also living at the same address is his wife Nancy née Hambleton.

‘The 1911 Census shows that boot and shoemaker/repairer was also his father’s profession and Jonathan junior was, in 1911, a 15-year-old assisting his 42-year old father – who was also called Jonathan Nunn – in the business at 55 Union Street in Stowmarket.

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‘What brought him to Jersey is not easy to establish unfortunately. His wife was born in Liverpool and oddly it appears that they may not have been officially married until 1973, where there is a record for a marriage in Hertford.’

Assistant curator at the Lancashire Infantry Museum Dominic Butler also contacted Mr Rose.

He wrote: ‘There are only nine Jonathan Nunns in the whole of the UK in the 1911 census, and only two at the right age for serving. One was from London and one from Suffolk, so it is fair to assume the Suffolk chap ends up in the Suffolk’s unit. I have no idea what happens after the war as I could find nothing online. I think local genealogists are your best bet now.’

Mr Rose says he was delighted to find out what happened to Mr Nunn after the First World War. If anyone has more information, they can contact Mr Rose by calling the Jersey Employment Trust on 788900.

Paula Thelwell

By Paula Thelwell
author

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