William Gladstone Jennings was born in Kent, in the summer of 1898, the only child of James and Emma Jennings. James was a marine engineer in the Naval Dockyard in Chatham, and it was here that the family lived.
Sadly, due to his age, and the lack of military service documentation, there is little written about William’s life. He was still at school by the time of the 1911 census, and the next records available confirm that he enlisted in the army. The date for this is not available, but it would have been by May 1917 at the latest and he seems to have enlisted with the surname Hickson, which was possibly his mother’s maiden name.
Private Jennings transferred to the Tank Corps when it was formed in July 1917. What his specific role was is lost to time, but it appears that his time in the regiment was short. The next available document is the Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects; this confirms that William passed away on 30th October 1917, in the Military Hospital in Woolwich.
There is no confirmation of the cause of his death, but Private Jennings was just 19 years old.
William Gladstone Jennings was brought back to his home town for burial, and he lies at rest in the Woodlands Cemetery in Gillingham.