Lieutenant Jack Douglas Wild

Regiment:   4th Battalion Buffs (East Kent) Regiment
Service No:  G/3767
Date and place of birth:  2 April 1894 in Stedham, Sussex
Date and place of death:  21 September 1919 in India

 Family background

Jack Douglas Wild was a son of George and Annie Elizabeth Wild.
He was christened on 1 July 1894 in Harting, Sussex.
His sister, Dorothy May Wild, was christened 22 September 1895, also in Harting.
In 1901 George Wild (31), was living in Harting with his son Jack Douglas (6). It is not clear if the rest of the family were with them at that time.
In 1911 George (41), tailor, and Annie Elizabeth (43) were living at Heatherbank, Harting, Sussex with their daughter Dorothy May Wild (15), student teacher. Amelia May Colwall (24), Annie’s sister, was named as a visitor.
Jack Douglas Wild (17), bank clerk, was listed as a boarder in the household of Sidney Whiteman (39), commercial traveller, at Horlen, New Street, Horsham, Sussex. Also at this address were Edith Frances Whiteman (32) and Lewis Martin Whiteman (3).
Following his period of employment in Horsham he joined Barclays Bank in Chichester, Sussex.
Midhurst Grammar School Pupil Admissions 1903 – 1916 records Jack Douglas Wild, son of George Wild, tailor and draper, of East Road, South Harting, being admitted to the school in May 1908 and leaving to become a bank clerk on 24 June 1910. Prior to this he attended Harting National School.

Military service

Jack Wild enlisted at St Martin’s School, next to St Martin’s in the Field, London, on 5 September 1914.
He joined the Norfolk Regiment but on 9 September transferred to the 7th Battalion Buffs. He quickly rose through the ranks: Lance Corporal, Corporal, Lance Sergeant and Sergeant. He went to France on 27 July 1915 and in December of that year was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant in the field, having shown conspicuous bravery.
The Buffs (East Kent) Regiment was formerly the 3rd Regiment of Foot dating back to 1572 and is one of the oldest regiments in the British Army.
The East Kent Regiment raised fourteen battalions and was awarded forty eight Battle Honours and one VC. During the course of WW1 the Regiment lost 6,000 men.
Jack Wild was transferred to the 8th Battalion Buffs. However, in February 1916 a ‘whizz bang’ exploded behind him in the trench, knocking him over and causing shell shock. He was hospitalised in Le Touquet and then in the 4th London General Hospital in Denmark Hill. After a long period of leave he resumed duties at Dover in August 1917 and in October returned to the Front, but after two weeks he was again hospitalised with shell shock at the same hospital.
In April 1918 he briefly served as an adjutant at a Royal Fusilliers depot in London but the noise of the traffic disturbed him and he returned to the 3rd Buffs in Dover and was given the temporary rank of Captain.
At some point he went with the Buffs to Ireland and was stationed in Cork as an adjutant until he left England on 16 August 1919 to join the 4th Battalion.
The Fourth Battalion was stationed in India and participated in the third Anglo-Afghan War which began on 6 May 1919 and ended on 8 August 1919 with an Armistice and the Treaty of Rawalpindi. It was seen as a tactical victory for the British but their losses amounted to 615 wounded and 236 killed. 566 died from cholera and 534 died from other diseases or accidents.
He was awarded Victory, 1915 Star and British War medals.

Death and commemoration

Jack Douglas Wild died on 21 September 1919 at the British Station Hospital, Lahore Cantonment, India. Cause of death was appendicitis.
Records suggest he was initially interred in the Lahore Cantonment North Cemetery. At a later date soldiers buried there were disinterred and reburied at the Karachi 1914-1918 War Memorial, although Jack Wild’s exact location within the cemetery is not known.
Probate was granted to George Wild, tailor and Dorothy May Roberts (wife of Alfred Johnson Roberts).
His name is in the Book of Remembrance of The Royal East Kent Regiment – The Buffs, which is displayed in the Warriors Chapel in Canterbury Cathedral. The Book contains the names of all officers and men that fell in both World Wars, and every day at 11am a page of the Book is turned.
There is a Memorial Window to him in Harting Parish Church and he is commemorated on the Board at Midhurst Rother College.

Subsequent family history

Dorothy M Wild married Alfred J Roberts in 1918 in Midhurst.
Annie Elizabeth Wild died 1 May 1949. Probate was granted to Robert Robins Geach and Percival Leslie Burley, solicitors on 15 July.
George Wild died 4 May 1956. Probate was granted to Dorothy May Roberts, widow, Percival Leslie Burley and David Harold Roebuck, solicitors on 18 June.
George and Annie Wild were still living at Heatherbank, South Harting, at the time of their deaths.

Note
A relation of Jack Wild has provided further information about Jack’s father, George ‘tailor’ Wild:

George Wild was an important Harting resident and his obituary described him as the ‘unofficial mayor’. He was the District Officer of the Society of Sussex Downsmen and held many positions within the community: church warden, chorister, school manager, trustee of charities, Secretary of Harting Old Club and parish councillor.
He was a very well known figure in the locality with his check plus fours and buttonhole.
During WW1 George was to be one of the two guides in any evacuation following a German invasion and in 1915 became the Secretary of the Emergency Committee.

 

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project