Family history discovered

Vaughan and Dennis Jenner
Vaughan and Dennis Jenner

A FATHER and son from Australia flew all the way from Down Under to 1066 Country to find out about their Hastings family history.

Dennis and Vaughan Jenner, from Newcastle, in New South Wales discovered the full history of Alfred Jenner, at one time landlord of the Whitefriars Hotel in Whitefriars Road.

They thought he had died in France in the First World War, and his son Leslie, Dennis’s father, emigrated to Australia in the early 1920s.
But they wanted more information so Vaughan contacted Hastings Museum. Alison Hawkins, local studies archivist, passed the enquiry to Andre Palfrey-Martin, a museum volunteer and historian. Andre then emailed the family before the pair came over last week and learned the full story.

Dennis, 65, and Vaughan, 38, found out Alfred had not died in the First World War but had lived until 1920.

Alfred was born in 1877 in Hooe. He joined the Regular Army in 1895, aged 18.

His first overseas posting in 1898 was to Egypt. It was here that he married Elizabeth Rhoda Relf in 1904.

In 1905 his daughter Winifred Rosa was born and in 1907, his son, Leslie Cecil Jenner.
India was to be his next and final posting.

By 1911 he was a corporal in the British Indian Army. He progressed further up the ranks and requested his discharge having served his time in February 1914 before moving to St George’s Road.

Records for the Whitefriars Hotel show that he was the landlord from that year before serving in the First World War only a few months later and being discharged in 1919. Interestingly throughout the war, the name recorded as the landlord of the Whitefriars Hotel is Alfred Jenner, even when his military records show that from 1915 he was in Egypt and Salonika (Thessaloniki). The Pikes Directory for 1919 recorded him as living in St Mary’s Terrace.

Alfred died on April 17, 1920 at Maudsley Hospital in London. His death certificate is unclear as to the reasons only that it was as a result of a seizure three months earlier. His widow stayed in Hastings and remarried in September 1922, died in June 1931 and was buried at Hastings Cemetery.

Alfred’s son, Dennis’s father, sailed to make a new life in Australia leaving in June 1924, travelling on the TSS Jervis Bay, which sailed for Sydney on June 17 of that year. Before that he worked as porter at the Mount Pleasant Hotel. He lived until 1966.

Winifred remained in Hastings and wed in 1923.