Our story begins with the only known picture of Private William Henry Lowe Jordan, found in the Woking News and Mail of 19 January 1917.
Using censuses and birth records, we know that William Henry Lowe Jordan was born in Norwich early in 1886. His mother later married William Lowe, but William retained the surname Jordan, so this may have been her second marriage.
The News and Mail article tells us that William had enlisted, aged 16, in the Hussars and then, later in the Dragoon Guards, clearly against his family’s wishes and they twice brought him home.
He was not, however, to be deterred. Clearly a soldier’s life was what he wanted above all things and in 1904, when he was free of his parents influence, he joined the Coldstream Guards as a career soldier and he remained with that regiment until December 1911.
Once he had left the military he moved to Witley, in Surrey, where he became Labour Master at Hambledon Workhouse. Later, in a complete change of tack, he became a touring guide with the Royal Automobile Club.
In early 1912, he married, Florence May Hampton from Horsell, affectionately known as Flory and the couple went to live in Warwick Street, St. John’s.When the Great War broke out, he, having remained as a reservist, was immediately called up and rejoined his regiment, the Coldstream Guards. His service must have been pretty exemplary and he was rapidly promoted to Corporal. With his regiment, he was posted to the Western Front, where, on the 29 October 1914, during the first battle of Ypres, he was reported as ‘missing in action’. Flory received confirmation of this on 19 February the following year. The exact circumstances of his death were never known, which must have left poor Flory in a state of painful uncertainty for a while.
She, like so many other widows of the Great War, never had a grave that she could have visited in remembrance of him and we can only hope that she may have taken some comfort from and pride in seeing William’s name inscribed on the town’s War Memorial.
- For further information on the collection of Woking’s Memorials
- For further information on Woking’s Town Centre War Memorial
- For further information on St John’s War Memorials
- To read William Henry Jordan’s Commonwealth war graves Commission Record Click Here
- To see other images of First World War soldiers featured in the Great War editions of the Woking News and Mail Click Here
- To see other images of First World War soldiers on war memorials featured in the Great War editions of the Woking News and Mail Click Here