Herbert Jacobs

Sergeant Herbert George Jacobs, 14452 Bedfordshire Regiment and 3363 Machine Gun Corps

Born on 9th April 1881 in Kensington, London
Died on 16th June 1970 in Ipswich, Massachusetts, USA

Family and Home 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Herbert George Jacobs was born in Kensington, London, the son of James Jacobs and Elizabeth née East and was baptised at Holy Trinity Church, Brompton on 15th May 1881. His father was a Domestic Coachman and, throughout his childhood, the family lived at 62 Princes Mews, Kensington.

His sister Elizabeth Margaret Jacobs was born on 31st August 1894.

Herbert also had two older half-siblings: Charles James Jacobs born in 1872 (3rd Quarter) and Amy Edith Jacobs, born in 1875 or 1876. They were the children of Herbert’s father James and his first wife Alice née White, who died aged 25 in October 1878.

Employment 4, 8

Herbert has not been found in the 1901 Census, though he was possibly a Footman in the household of Lady Susan Harrowby (sp. Harraby) at Kildare, Bath Road, Bournemouth. However, the age given for that Herbert Jacobs, born in London, is 25, whereas Herbert was actually 20.

In the 1911 Census, Herbert was the Under Butler in the household of Lord and Lady Brownlow at Belton House, Grantham. Harold Catt, Footman and Matthew Fowler, Motor Driver also worked at Belton in 1911. Herbert’s age is recorded as 32, although he was actually not quite 30. 35 year old Ellen Florence Bridle, whom Herbert later married, was the Cook at Belton House in 1911.

Marriage and Military Service 8, 9, 10

Herbert George Jacobs married Ellen Florence Bridle at St John’s Church, Paddington on 27th July 1915. Herbert, then aged 34, was a Corporal in the 10th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment based at Colchester Barracks. Ellen, 40, lived at 15 Hyde Park Square Mews and was the daughter of the late Henry Bridle, Mechanic. The witnesses were Herbert’s sister Elizabeth Margaret Jacobs and his brother-in-law Albert Charles Way, husband of his half-sister Amy.

Herbert Jacobs was one of 17 men on the Little Gaddesden Roll of Honour who volunteered for the Bedfordshire Regiment in the first month of the War.

12473 William Wells, volunteered on 26th August followed by 12589 William Grant, 12591 George Cash and almost certainly 12593 Charles Batchelor on the 27th. 13330 Frank Dove R.I.P. and 13724 Horace Halsey joined on or before 3rd September 1914 and a further 11 men attested on 3rd September. These were 13785 Edward Saunders, 14374 Harold Catt, 14452 Herbert Jacobs, 14532 John Mayling, 14553 Victor Collier, 14546 Frederick Purton R.I.P., 14557 Ernest Bearton, 14575 Arthur Maunders, 17221 Bertie Purton, 17231 Herbert Fenn and 3/8219 Jesse Holland.

The 10th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment served in England as a Reserve battalion and was initially based at Dovercourt, Harwich. However, it moved to White City in January 1915 and to Colchester that May. Then, in March 1916, it returned to Dovercourt.

Herbert’s date of transfer to the Machine Gun Corps is not known, as only his Medal Records have survived. However, his Service Medal and Award Roll entry shows that he served overseas with that Corps as a Sergeant, Service number 3363, and was awarded the British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal. He was then demobilised and transferred to Class Z Army Reserve on 1st April 1919.                             

The Belton Roll of Honour

Herbert Jacobs is one of seven men named on the original Roll of Honour for Little Gaddesden and the Roll of Honour in St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Belton. All were servants of Lord Brownlow, who owned Ashridge House in Hertfordshire and Belton House near Grantham. Herbert was the Under Butler and would therefore have travelled between Belton and Ashridge. The other men named on both Rolls are: Harold Catt, Walter Darby, Frank Dove, Matthew Fowler, Mark Kinchington (recorded Kisington at Belton) and Ernest Moore. Herbert Flowers and Rupert Flowers, whose father was Lord Brownlow’s Coachman, are named on the Belton Roll and have been added to the Centenary Revision of the Little Gaddesden Roll.

Photo of the Belton Roll of Honour

Men who have answered their country’s call in defence of a “Scrap of Paper”

Herbert Jacobs is named on the Roll of Honour, which hangs in St Peter & St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden and lists 119 men from Little Gaddesden, Ringshall and Hudnall who served in the 1914 – 1918 War. His unit is recorded as “Machine Gun Section”; on the Centenary Revision of the Roll this has been recorded more formally as “Machine Gun Corps.”  

Rolls of Honour photos: Jane Dickson, Michael Carver

“Belton. Welcome Home” 11

A report in the Grantham Journal of 7th June 1919, describes the celebration to welcome men back to Belton.

It was desired, while Lord Brownlow was still in residence, at Belton, to show, on behalf of the whole village and parish, some mark of public welcome to all the brave men in any way connected with Belton, on their safe return from the war, and of united thanks to them and appreciation of their gallant services.

A delightful Social Evening Party was accordingly organised and held in the Schoolroom, on Thursday June 5th, attended by Lord Brownlow and all parishioners, and to which special cards of invitation were issued to our heroes.

The entertainment was in the hands of Mr Pither, who arranged an admirable variety performance of fun and music, in which local talent took part, powerfully aided by Messers. Matt Broughton and Thompson of Grantham.

Proceedings began at 8 o’clock with a short opening speech by Lord Brownlow, in which he touched upon the main purpose of the gathering and spoke feelingly of those who had fallen and of those who mourned their loss. The names of the invited men who have returned were then read out and each, in turn, amid welcoming hand claps, came forward and shook hands with Lord Brownlow.

Abundant refreshments provided by his Lordship were spread in the open air in the Schoolyard. Dancing followed and the happy gathering was kept up until 1 o’clock, when the proceedings were brought to an end with three cheers for Lord Brownlow and the singing of God Save the King.

Quoted extract courtesy of the Grantham Journal

Invited guests named included Harold Catt, Walter Darby, Herbert Jacobs, Rupert Flowers and Sidney Impey.

Emigration to the United States of America 12, 13, 14

However, Herbert did not stay in England for long after the War. On 25th October 1920, he and Ellen left Southampton for New York aboard the Cunard liner RMS Aquitania. Herbert, 39, was listed as a Mechanic and Ellen, 45, a Housewife. Their country of intended future permanent residence was the USA. It is unclear, though, whether Herbert ever worked as a Mechanic in the USA, as later records show him as a Manservant and Butler.

Then, on 27th May 1924, Herbert and Ellen returned to England for a 4 month visit. Herbert George Jacobs, Manservant, aged 43 and Ellen Florence Jacobs aged 49 arrived at Southampton aboard the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company ship “Orca”. Their intended address was: The Old Cottage, Niton, Isle of Wight, in Herbert’s late father’s home village. They stayed until 20th September 1924 when they left Southampton to return to New York aboard the same ship.

The 1930 United States Federal Census then shows Herbert and Ellen working as Butler and Cook respectively in the household of Samuel Tucker, Chemist and his wife Anne in Manhatten, New York.

Later Life 14, 15

However, the 1940 United States Federal Census shows Herbert, 59 and Ellen, 65 living at 575 Essex Street, Beverly, Essex County, Massachusetts, where they had been since at least 1935. No occupation is shown, indicating that they had retired from domestic service.

Ellen died on 5th July 1962 in Beverly, Essex County, Massachusetts and is buried in North Beverly Cemetery.  Herbert, however, lived to be 89 and died in Ipswich, Essex County, Massachusetts on 16th June 1970. He is buried with Ellen.


1. https://www.findmypast.co.uk England & Wales births 1837-2006 Transcriptions

2. https://www.myheritage.com/research/record-10002-2883325/herbert-jacobs-in-us-social-security-death-index-ssdi

3. https://www.ancestry.co.uk London, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1917

4. https://www.findmypast.co.uk 1881 – 1911 England, Wales & Scotland Census Transcriptions

5. https://www.ancestry.co.uk The 1939 Register

6. https://www.findmypast.co.uk England & Wales Deaths 1837-2007

7. https://www.findmypast.co.uk Middlesex, Brompton Cemetery Records

8. https://www.ancestry.co.uk London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1932

9. http://www.bedfordregiment.org.uk/otherbn/homeservice.html#9thbn

10. https://www.ancestry.co.uk WWI Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920 

11. https://www.findmypast.co.uk Newspapers & Periodicals – The Grantham Journal 7th June 1919, p2, col.3

12. https://www.findmypast.co.uk Passenger Lists Leaving UK 1890-1960

13. https://www.ancestry.co.uk UK and Ireland, Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960 

14. https://www.ancestry.co.uk United States Federal Census 1930 and 1940

15. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/133943859

Do you have any questions about the information recorded here? Or do you have any further information that you can share with us about those from Little Gaddesden who died or fought for their country? In either case, please contact Jane Dickson at war-remembrance@littlegaddesdenchurch.org.uk.

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Research, text and (unless otherwise credited) photos: Jane Dickson