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John (“Jack”)Wilson Sedman

John Wilson (“Jack”) Sedman was the third son of Thomas and Anne Jane (nee Wilson) Sedman of 82 Old Maltongate who married on 7th December 1889 at Harome.  

When they were first married Thomas and Annie lived in Parliament Street, Norton and Annetta their first child was born there, but by the time their next child Olive arrived they had moved to Malton. Thomas was a tailor, as his father had been before him and the expectation was that his sons would follow him into the business.  Their shop was at 8 Saville Street, two doors down from the Methodist Church, which Jack, at least seems to have attended.

Jack was born on 25th August 1897 and was baptised at St Leonard’s church, Malton on 7th November.

1901 Census - 82, Old Malton Gate, Malton, Yorkshire

Thomas Sedman, Head, Married, Male, 35, Tailor, Malton, Yorkshire

Annie Sedman, Wife, Married, Female, 35, -, Yorkshire

Annetta Sedman, Daughter, Single, Female, 9, -, Norton, Yorkshire

Olive Sedman, Daughter, Single, Female, 8, -, Malton, Yorkshire

Bernard Sedman, Son, Single, Male, 6, -, Malton, Yorkshire

Oswald Sedman, Son, Single, Male, 5, -, Malton, Yorkshire

John Wilson Sedman, Son, Single, Male, 3, -, Malton, Yorkshire

Rose Sedman, Daughter, Single, Female, 2, -, Malton, Yorkshire

A photo shows the increasingly large family in the summer of 1908 presumably in the back garden of 82 Old Maltongate.

By 1911 the older children were young adults. Bernard the oldest son was apprenticed to his father and Oswald was apprenticed to a tailor in Welburn, while the two older girls were working as housemaids, though still living at home. Even the 13-year-old Jack was working as an errand boy.

1911 Census -82 Old Maltongate, Malton, Yorkshire

Thomas Sedman, Head, Married, Male, Tailor Maker, 45, , Yorks Malton,

Annie Sedman, Wife, Married, Female, -, 45, , Yorks Harome,

Olive Sedman, Daughter, Single, Female, Housemaid, 18, , Yorks Malton,

Bernard Sedman, Son, Single, Male, Tailor Apprentice, 16, , Yorks Malton,

John Wilson Sedman, Son, -, Male, Grocer Errand Boy, 13, , Yorks Malton,

Rose Sedman, Daughter, -, Female, School, 12, , Yorks Malton,

Esther Annie Sedman, Daughter, -, Female, School, 5, , Yorks Malton,

Thomas Crosby Sedman, Son, -, Male, School, 4, , Yorks Malton,

Rayman Peissey Sedman, Son, -, Male, -, 1, , Yorks Malton,

Annette Sedman, Daughter, Single, Female, Housemaid Domestic, 19, , Yorks Norton,

At the outbreak of warJack together with his two older  brothers, Bernard and Oswald, joined up and started training with the Yorkshire Regiment. This photograph  seems to show all three of them on a training camp. Bernard and Oswald are second and third from the left and Jack at the back on the right.

 Oswald went out to France with the 5th Yorkshires on 1st November 1915 and survived to be discharged on 5th December 1918 having completed his four-year service. Bernard enlisted in the 5th Yorkshires but transferred to KOYLI and remained at the Depot until his discharge on 12th December 1917.

Jack signed up with 2/5th Yorkshires on 3/11/14 for 4 years service aged 17. He was 5’6” tall and apparently healthy. 2/5th Battalion was formed at Scarborough in September 1914 as a home service (“second line”) unit and moved to Darlington in November 1914 and eventually to Catterick. On 1 March 1915 they came under orders of 189th Brigade, 63rd (2nd Northumbrian) Division, and by spring 1916 all category A1 men, now deemed by the Military Service Act to be available for overseas service, were posted.


Presumably by then Jack was not seen as fit for overseas service as he was posted to 3/5 Yorkshires on 30 March 1916. 3/4th and 3/5th Battalions were formed in Northallerton and Scarborough, April and March 1915, as depot/training units and both Battalions moved to Redcar in April 1916. On 1 September 1916 3/4th absorbed 3/5th and was retitled as 4th Reserve Battalion in Northumbrian Reserve Brigade.

According to his military medical record of 13th Sepember 1916, his perceived health problems began on 20th August 1916 at Redcar. He went on weekend leave to Malton and during the time away suffered from severe headache. On returning to duty he went on a short route march and felt ill though he did not fall out. On retiring to bed, he began to cough and coughed up about a small teacupful of blood. He was suffering from cough, painful breathing, sweat and lack of appetite and emaciation was well marked. The report stated that this was not caused but aggravated by ordinary military service – Exposure in camp during very wet weather and a diagnosis of Pulmonary Tuberculosis was made.

He was discharged to pension on grounds of being permanently unfit on 27/9/16, and died at home at 66 Old Maltongate aged 20 on September 7, 1917. He was buried in Malton Cemetery (Plot 1686). The funeral was conducted by the Wesleyan minister, Allan Spencer – despite his Anglican baptism, he seems to have been a member of the Saville Street Methodist congregation.

According to the Gazette and Herald, records show John was discharged as being unfit for further service, after suffering from problems with gas poisoning and then tuberculosis, but I can find no mention of any problems except T.B. in his military record, and for a man on home service, gas sounds unlikely.

Jack is commemorated on the War Memorial in Saville Street Methodist church. It is only recently that  the Commonwealth War Graves Commission have recognised him as a casualty and so he does not appear on the town memorial. He is also one of 77 names that have been added to the Commission’s 1914-1918 War Memorial at Brookwood Military Cemetery, in Woking, Surrey. The Brookwood 1914-1918 Memorial is a memorial to the missing and commemorates casualties with no known grave. The names of the new additions, such as Jack's, were not previously commemorated as war dead most likely because they came home and died of injuries and or illness they received from the battlefields and the commission were not informed. Now they too can be remembered for their sacrifice.