Lawrence Jessop
Lawrence Jessop was born in the April 1893 in Hillsborough, Sheffield.
The 1901 census shows Lawrence, age 8, living with his father William, mother Charlotte and younger brother Henry.
In February 1916 the Military Service Act was introduced - this was soon nicknamed the "Bachelor’s Bill" as initially conscription was limited to unmarried men.
Lawrence Jessop was unmarried, but as a Baptist felt unable to serve as a soldier and declared he was a conscientious objector.
Tribunals were set up to recognise three degrees of conscientious objection - exemption without conditions, exemption conditional upon performing alternative civilian work, or non-combatant service in the army.

Lawrence was enrolled at Pontefract (Yorkshire) on 2nd May 1916. His enrolment paper states ‘Holds Certificate for Non Combatant Service’.
He joined the 2nd Northern Company, Non Combatant Corps. His regimental number was 822.
From the 2nd May until the 28th May Lawrence was stationed in Richmond, Yorkshire.
On the 29th May he was posted to France.
He embarked at Southampton on Tuesday 30th May 1916 and landed in Le Havre on 31st May and joined the British Expeditionary Force.
According to family tradition he served as a stretcher bearer.
We know little of Lawrence’s war service but his record shows he was able to enjoy leave from his unit.
From September the 1st until the 11th 1917, Lawrence was allowed leave.
His next leave was to the United Kingdom. It ran from 1st to the 15th October 1918. During this leave he married Winnifred Pittuck, sister of John Pearce Pittuck. Sue Skelton's grandfather.
Shortly after he returned to France on the 14th November he contracted pneumonia. The war had ended on the 11th November 1918.
He again had leave to the UK from 24th April to 8th May 1919.
On the 8th of November 1919 Lawrence was examined at Boulogne, France.
He signed a ‘Statement as to Disability’ to declare he was not suffering any disability due to his army service.
The war had been over for a year and Lawrence’s service was nearly complete.
On 11th November, at Boulogne, he boarded troop transport ‘Maid of Orleans’ built in 1918 for the Dover - Calais service but converted to a troop ship.
On Tuesday the 11th November 1919 at 9.35am she arrived at the Admiralty Dock Dover.
As the soldiers were preparing to disembark Private Elliot of the Highland Light Infantry noticed that the bolt of a fellow soldier’s rifle, Private William Hood, was open.
As trained, Private Hood closed the bolt, pointed the rifle upwards, and pulled the trigger.
A shot went off and the bullet passed through the roof to the deck above.
Lawrence Jessop was standing directly above Private Hood on the 3rd lower deck.
The bullet went through his left big toe, grazed his shin, wounded his 2nd finger left hand and passed into his chest.
He died instantaneously.
An RAMC doctor, Captain Smith, was called to the scene. He confirmed Lawrence was dead.
The army sent a ‘regret to inform you’ telegram to his wife Winnifred that afternoon telling her of his accidental death.
Memos from the next day show that an army enquiry was expected.
A coroner’s inquest was quickly held the next day.
The Coroner, in returning a verdict of accidental death, said he could not blame anyone in the case, but his opinion was that anyone using firearms should make absolutely sure to take due precaution that cartridges were not left in the rifle.
A report was included next day, 14th November, in the ‘Dover Express and East Kent News’.

The body of Pte. Jessop was forwarded by rail to Sheffield, on 13th November, at the request of next of kin.
Lawrence’s mother lived in Sheffield. His wife Winnifred lived near Benson, Oxfordshire.
As next of kin she must have made the decision that his remains would be sent to his family home.
All personal effects were sent to his wife.
Surprisingly at the beginning of 1920 his mother, Mrs. Jessop, wrote a letter querying the whereabouts of the effects.
Lawrence Jessop must have been one of the last casualties, to gunfire, of the Great War. He is buried in Wadsley Churchyard, north of Sheffield, Grave 23.EE44.

Lawrence Jessop is the great uncle of Sue Skelton of Newton Aycliffe.