Name: John Morrison Jessamine DoB: September 28 1890 Regt: Private 18780 16th Royal Scots DoD: July 1 1916 Academic Career: CGS 1900-1907
John Morrison Jessamine was one of two sons born to a farming family in Burgh by Sands a few miles west of Carlisle. The farm belonged to his maternal grandfather, Thomas Waugh. Both he and his brother attended the grammar school. His parents, John Alexander and Jane Isabella, and three of his grandparents were born in Scotland, which may have influenced his choice of job and regiment. His brother Thomas Waugh Jessamine, described himself as “Scotch” on at least one official document. So it seems likely that John Morrison also saw himself as Scottish.
John played cricket for the second XI and he was a good sprinter winning prizes at sports day for running 100 and 300 yards. He also won prizes for high and broad jumping.
After leaving the Grammar School John Morrison joined the Clydesdale Bank in Carlisle. It seems likely that he travelled to Quebec, Canada on “The Virginian”, arriving June 2 1911 as he joined the Royal Bank of Canada this has a memorial website, and he is also commemorated there.
War Service: For whatever reason John returned to the UK, and enlisted in Edinburgh on Dec 17 1914 in the 16th Royal Scots.This battalion was famous as McCrae’s battalion; it was a volunteer battalion formed by Sir George McCrae, who famously marched on the pitch at Heart of Midlothian football ground in Edinburgh leading 500 volunteers. The battalion was notable for its high number of professional sportsmen and fans drawn from football clubs around Scotland. John was killed on the first day of the battle of the Somme, July 1 1916, one of 573 men and 12 officers of the 16th Royal Scots who died that day and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.
Other: In 1922 his only sibling Thomas Waugh Jessamine emigrated to Montreal, Quebec, leaving his widowed father living alone in Gretna.
Sources: a) Carlisle School Memorial Register 1264-1924 b) Census: 1891 RG12 4293 29 4 c) Census: 1901 RG13 4871 36 11 d) Census : 1911 RG14 3135 e) Royal Bank of Canada f) Clydesdale Bank g) Ancestry “Thomas Waugh Jessamine” passenger list to Canada h) Ancestry John Morrison Jessamine