2nd Lieutenant Richard Owen Jenkins was the son of Richard and Elizabeth Jenkins of Wallasey, Merseyside. He is buried at Nine Elms British Cemetery, Poperinge, Belgium, in war grave number B00003. When Jenkins was awarded the Military Cross for his actions in 1917, the award was noted as being "for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He was ordered to secure the ground and dig a strong point in a most advanced position, and carried out the work successfully in spite of casualties. Though wounded, he maintained the position and connected up his post with the trench in the rear. He set his men an excellent example of coolness and courage."
Thousands of Liverpool soldiers served and died on the Western Front during the First World War (1914-18), most serving in the King's Liverpool Regiment.
The King’s Regiment and the Western Front 1914-18
The outbreak of war in 1914 was met with a huge enthusiasm to serve in the Allied armies. On 4 August 1914 Britain mobilised her armed forces. Britain needed to expand her army to match those of Europe so Lord Kitchener, the Minister for War, made a national appeal for 100,000 men to join up.
In Liverpool 4,000 mainly manual workers had joined the 'Kitcheners Battalions' within three months. At first white collar workers in insurance, shipping and banking were reluctant to join. However Lord Derby made an appeal for 1,000 volunteers, promising that they could serve with workmates and within 1 hour this had been met. A total of 4,000 men went on to join these Liverpool ‘Pals’ Battalions by the end of 1914.
The King's Regiment Territorials were sent to France over 1914-15. The Kitchener and Liverpool Pals Battalions of the Regiment went to France between May and November 1915. The Reserve Territorials were sent to France in February 1917 as part of the 57th West Lancashire Division.
All of the King's battalions were eventually drawn into the battle around the River Somme and thousands of men were lost. Few of the original volunteers from the Kitchener and Liverpool Pals battalions survived. By the time of the allied victory in November 1918, thousands of conscripts bore the brunt of the fighting.
Sources of information
National Museums Liverpool website