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George Jacobs (1889-1916)

Sunderland man served in the Royal Army Medical Corps remembered on plaque at Moor Street synagogue

George Jacobs was born in Sunderland on 1 February 1889. His father was Israel Jacobs who was originally from Russia. His mother was Augusta Jacobs, nee Asher from Sunderland. George’s parents married in the last few months of 1876 in Sunderland. Israel became a naturalised British Citizen on 14 May 1886. George had six brothers and four sisters, although the 1911 census records one of these children was no longer alive by this date.

At the time of the 1891 census the family were living at 11 Nicholson Street in Sunderland. Israel wass working as a pawn broker. George was admitted to Bede Higher Grade School in 1898. The family had moved by the time of the 1901 census to Thornhill Park in Bishopwearmouth, Sunderland. George’s father was then working as a furniture dealer and shop keeper. The family had moved again by 1911 and were living at 6 St George’s Square, Sunderland. The census suggests the family’s furniture business was doing well as they were living in a house with 10 rooms and employed a servant. George was working as a mining engineer at this time.

George enrolled in Sunderland and joined the theatre of war in France on 10 July 1915. He served as a sergeant in the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) with the service number 39928. George served with the 47th Field Ambulance, part of the 15th (Scottish) Division and at the time of his death was stationed near Martinpuich.

Sometime between 1911 and the time of his death George married Mattie Jacobs. Newspaper reports both in 1917 and in 1943 suggest the couple had one child, George Jason Jacobs, who went on to be killed in the Second World War whilst serving in the Royal Air Force.

George was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal which was reported in the London Gazette on 26 September 1916: “For conspicuous gallantry during operations. When his stretcher bearers were dazed by the heavy shell fire he jumped on the parapet, and with the assistance of an orderly carried the first case through the barrage. The other bearers at once followed his lead.” George was also awarded the Victory Medal, the British War Medal and the 1915 Star for his service.

George is buried in the Contay British cemetery, Somme, France. He is remembered on several plaques locally including those lost from Wearmouth Colliery, suggesting George was working at this colliery at the time of his death. He is also remembered locally on a brass plaque now housed at the Jewish Military Museum in London. This plaque was originally unveiled by the Mayor of Sunderland at Moor Street Synagogue, Sunderland in 1922. It was moved to Ryhope Road Synagogue, upon the closure of which it was transferred to London. The inscription on the plaque reads: “In honoured memory of the undermentioned members of the Sunderland Jewish Community who made the Supreme Sacrifice in the Great War 1914-1918. This plaque was originally accompanied by the British Jewry Book of Honour with the names of the fallen inscribed.

George was remembered at a service held at the Moor Street Synagogue on 2 November 1916.
There is a photo of George at the following link:

Civil Parish: Sunderland

Birth date: 1-Feb-1889

Death date: 10-Oct-1916

Armed force/civilian: Army

Residence: 11 Nicholson Street (1891 census)
Thornhill Park (1901 census)
6 St George’s Square, Sunderland (1911 census)

Education: Bede Higher Grade School, Sunderland

Religion: Jewish

Employment: Mining Engineer (1911 census and CWGC records)

Family: Parents: Israel Jacobs, Augusta Jacobs nee Asher
Siblings: David Jacobs, Moses Jacobs, Lionel Jacobs, Edward Jacobs, Bertha Jacobs, Harold Jacobs, Grace Jacobs, Cyril Jacobs, Rita Laura Jacobs, Flora Jacobs
Aunt: Esther Asher
Nephew: Walter Leopold Jacobs
Wife: Mattie Jacobs
Child: George Jason Jacobs

Military service:

Royal Army Medical Corps, 47th Field Ambulance
Service Number 39928

Medal(s): Victory Medal
British War Medal
1915 Star
Distinguished Conduct Medal

Memorial(s): Contay British Cemetery, Somme, France
Plaque 1914-1918, Originally Moor Street Synagogue, Sunderland.
Plaque Wearmouth Colliery 1914-18 Miner’s Hall, Southwick.
Plaque 1914-18 N.E. Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Gender: Male

Contributed by Fiona Johnson - Durham