Regiment: Royal Sussex, 2nd Battalion,
Service No: L/10179
Date & place of birth: Oct-Dec 1894 in Billingshurst/Kirdford
Date & place of death: 14 September 1914 on The Marne

Private Jesse Luxford was part of the British Expeditionary Force and the first soldier commemorated on the Petworth War Memorial to die in the War. His early death suggests he was already in the Army at the start of the war (as a period of several months training usually preceded deployment) though he was working as an Under Shepherd in the 1911 Census.

Family background

Jesse was born in the Billingshurst area in 1894, the son of Sampson and Agnes Luxford of Newbridge, Wisborough Green. Sampson was a shepherd and their other son William was also a shepherd boy. By 1911 Jesse was living at New Lodges, Tillington Road and presumably herding sheep nearby.

Military career

Jesse is recorded as enlisting in Petworth and entering the theatre of war on 12 August 1914,  a few days after war was declared. He served in the 1st Division of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment. His service record has not survived, though his medal record has.

Death & commemoration

Jesse was killed in action with the British Expeditionary Force on the Marne just 41 days after Britain had declared war on Germany. He is commemorated on the La Ferte-Sous-Jouarre Memorial on the south bank of the Marne, about 66 kilometres from Paris. He had been awarded the Victory, British and 14star medals and clasp. Also killed on the same day were George Sageman and Henry Tree from West Lavington.

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project