Arthur JORDAN
Rank: Private
Number: 9971
Unit: 1st Battalion DUKE OF CORNWALL'S LIGHT INFANTRY
Date of Death: 9 September 1914
Age: 25
Cemetery: La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, Seine-et-Marne, France

As with many local families, several Jordans would serve during the Great War and not all would return.

When the 1901 Census was taken, Thomas Jordan was living at 13 Banbury Street, Stockport with four of his sons - Arthur (then aged 12), Frederick (6), Thomas (5) and Charles (2). This was the home of his parents, Thomas and Bridget. A fifth son was living with his other grandparents, Albert and Martha Ogden, 21 Carrington Field, Stockport. Thomas' wife was not living at either address and may have died. Her name is unknown.

Arthur was a regular soldier, joining up in 1912. His Battalion had been in Ireland since he joined. It was scheduled to go overseas to Hong Kong for a number of years in the early autumn of 1914 and Arthur was on leave. As War loomed, he was recalled from Stockport on 30 July.

The 1st Battalion, DCLI, was one of the first to land in France after the declaration of War on 4 August. Arthur will have taken part in the Battle of Mons on 23 August, after which the British Army was forced into retreat. Three days later, they were in action again at the Battle of Le Cateau and, again, the next several days were spent in what can only be described as headlong retreat.

When the British and French Armies reached the River Marne, orders were given to stop and fight. After days of hard marching, morale suddenly soared.

On 9 September, Arthur and his mates paraded at dawn and moved off before 5am. The road along which they were marching soon came under enemy shellfire so they moved off the road and into woods towards the village of Montreuil-aux-Lions (about halfway between Paris and Reims). They would continue through wooded areas until about midday.

The Regimental History records that when they "reached the forward edge of the wood, they were confronted by an enemy trench - semi-concealed and on the edge of another spur of trees. Immediately men of "A" Company appeared from the wood, they were met by very heavy fire from the enemy and casualties began to occur at once. There was no cover from fire and the only cover from view was the scattered undergrowth. The only hope of being able to maintain position was to force the enemy to keep his head down under a constant and heavy fire and this they proceeded to do."

"A" Company was pinned down on the edge of the wood, unable to attack without support from the other troops who could not move from the wood, nor could they retreat back into cover.

"After a while, it became necessary to husband ammunition and then that most trying of situations occurred when it was necessary to be under the enemy's fire without reply. The movement of hand or head brought an immediate concentration of fire. The continuous crack and thud of bullets was quite sickening. Men, terribly wounded and no longer able to lie still, hurled themselves about in the wood, cursing. Others knowing that they were dying and no longer able to handle their rifle, quite calmly moved up and down the firing line handing over such ammunition as they had left. One man was seen doing this with the whole of the lower jaw carried away. Mercifully, he was almost immediately killed by another bullet."

Towards evening, the whole Battalion was forced to withdraw. Although there had been many wounded, fatalities were surprisingly few, totalling 28. Most of them, like Arthur, had to be left on the battlefield and now have no known grave.

A strange thing happened back in Stockport. The local newspaper reported that his brother had received a postcard from Arthur on 29 August, saying he was quite well. But then another postcard arrived on September 18, saying the same thing, but written in a different, unknown, hand. By then, of course, Arthur had been dead for 9 days.

The war had not yet finished with the Jordan family. Frederick Jordan had also joined the army as a regular soldier and was serving with the South Lancashire Regiment. Two years later he was reported to have been wounded on 10 July 1916 at the Battle of the Somme and was recovering at Upperton Red Cross Hospital , Eastbourne .

Their father, Thomas, had also enlisted into the army, joining the Royal Field Artillery in October 1915. He went overseas on 21 January 1916. The press reported that he had been wounded whilst serving in Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) and had been evacuated to hospital in Poona, India, where he had died on 28 July. In fact, Thomas had died on 20 July and is buried in a military Cemetery at Basra in southern Iraq. His listing on the Soldiers Died in the Great War CD-Rom is "died", normally indicating a death from natural causes.

In 1916, Thomas' eldest son, Herbert was conscripted into the army and is believed to have survived the war. His address at the time was 46 Alldis Street, Great Moor.

   
           
   
     
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