Norman Lees JENNISON
Rank: Captain
Unit: 20th Battalion MANCHESTER REGIMENT (Attached to 22nd Trench Mortar Battery)
Date of Death: 30 October 1918
Age: 22 (based on 1901 Census)
Cemetery: Staglieno Cemetery, Genoa, Italy

Norman came from a well-to-do family that, in 1901, was living at Pink Bank Lane in the Longsight district of Manchester. His father, Angelo Jennison, appears to have been independently wealthy as the census does not record any occupation for him. He was married to Jane and they had two sons - Norman and Sydney. Angelo's wealth allowed him to employ three live-in servants - a governess, cook and housemaid.

Nothing is known of Norman's early life but it is known that, at the time he enlisted into the army, he was living at 49 East Road in Longsight. He had, perhaps, left home by that time as, shortly afterwards, Mr & Mrs Jennison are recorded as living at 15 Western Grove, Heaton Chapel. Norman worked in Manchester as a clerk for Schloss Brothers Ltd. The company is believed to have been an engineering firm with offices at 52 Princess Street.

On 19 March 1914, with the War only four moths away, Norman joined the 6th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. This was a Territorial unit - the so-called "Saturday Afternoon Soldiers". His service papers still exist at the National Archives and these show him to have then been aged 18 years and 9 months. He was quite tall for those times, standing at over 5' 10" and had a 39" chest. He was given the service number of 2009. When War was declared in the August, Norman and his comrades were mobilised and went first to Egypt and then Gallipoli. Some details of this period can be found here.

In 1916, Norman (then still a private), applied to become an officer and is presumed to have been commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant into the 20th Manchesters (although there is nothing in the Battalion's War Diary to indicate when he joined). The London Gazette, on 1 September 1916, does record his movement to the 22nd Trench Mortar Battery, so it possible that the reference to the 20th Manchesters by the War Graves Commission, is an error. At this time, the Battery was fighting in the Battle of the Somme and will have been suffering heavy casualties. It is, perhaps, no surprise that Norman had rapid promotion and, within a few weeks, he had been made Acting Captain. It appears that he must have transferred to another Trench Mortar Battery as there is no mention of him in the 22nd's War Diary, held at the National Archives, so it is now impossible to trace his final two years of service.

The 7th Division, of which the 20th Manchesters and 22nd Trench Mortar were part, moved to Italy at the end of October 1917. A year later, there was a worldwide pandemic of influenza which claimed many millions of lives. Norman was one of them. He caught the flu and it turned to pneumonia. He was admitted to 11th General Hospital at Genoa, where he died.

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