Henry John Venn was born in September 1900, the youngest of three children to Charles and Mary Venn. Charles was a gardener, and the family lived in the small Somerset village of Shipham.
Sadly, there is little information available about Henry’s life, although when war broke out, he enlisted as a Private in the Devonshire Regiment. There is no documentation to confirm exactly when he enrolled, although, given his age when the conflict began, it it unlikely to have been before 1918.
Indeed, later records show that his parents were refused a war gratuity. This was only usually the case where a soldier had completed less than six months’ service. It is likely, therefore, that Private Venn did not join up before he turned 18 years old in September 1918.
Henry joined the 53rd Training Reserve Battalion; they were based at the Rollestone Camp near Stonehenge, Wiltshire. It is here that he likely became unwell, as he was subsequently admitted to the Military Hospital on Salisbury Plain. He was suffering from influenza and pneumonia, and this is what he succumbed to. Private Venn passed away on 10th November 1918 – the day before the Armistice that ended the conflict. He was just 18 years old.
Henry John Venn lies at rest in the graveyard of St Leonard’s Church in his home village of Shipham in Somerset.