Sapper 43990 98th Field Coy, Royal Engineers
Died 28th May 1918, aged 23
Remembered at Pozieres Memorial
but not in Blakeney
Job was born in Blakeney, 22nd July 1894, the eldest son of the butcher Job Simpson from Kings Lynn and his wife Charlotte Boast from Hardley, Norfolk. By 1900, Job and Charlotte together with their four children, Job, Jonathan, Harriet and James had left Blakeney and returned to Kings Lynn where Job senior became a railway coachman and Edward was born. Thereafter there was a final move for the family to Thornage where Charlotte and Jeremiah were born.
The 1911 Census reveals that Job and Charlotte, living in Thornage, had been married for 18 years and had had nine children, although three had died in infancy. Job Simpson junior, aged 16, was an apprentice white smith.
Records for Job are scant, however his listing in “Soldiers died in the Great War 1914-1919” relates that he was born in Blakeney, resided in Thornage and enlisted in Norwich. The 98th Field Company joined the 21st Division at Chesham in January 1915 and Job was with them when they embarked for France, 10th September 1915 and thereafter served on the Western Front.
Field Companies of the Royal Engineers provided the skill and know how in support of the fighting units of every Division. The war relied on them to build and maintain railways, roads, bridges, inland waterways, transport and water supplies as well as the maintenance of communications, signals, front line defences, guns and all other weapons. In addition they managed the printing and stationery units, a crucial role as every Division of every army ran on forms and instructions, printed by the hundreds of thousands.
Job’s Division was moved between the both British and French armies during the Spring Offensives of 1918. It was with the Sixth French Army at the Battle of the Aisne (27th May to 6th June). They were part of a small and very tired British Force sent south to Chenin des Dames in exchange for fresh French troops that were needed elsewhere. In the event, his unit was struck hard and virtually destroyed with Job loosing his life on the second day of the action.
Job’s body was never recovered for burial and consequently he is remembered by name at Pozieres Memorial and at Thornage where the church is custodian of his Death Penny.