King Edward’s School and the Great War

Memorial Roll of Honour 1914 - 1918


Jervis, John Cedric

Second Lieutenant ▪ 5th Squadron, Royal Flying Corps

John Cedric Jervis, born on 11th February 1890, was admitted to King Edward’s School in January 1903. His father was the Reverend Jervis and the family, including his mother, Wilhelmina Agnes Henrietta Ashdown Jervis, his sister, Marjorie, and his brothers, Bernard, Arthur and Norman, lived on Ascott Road, Moseley. John’s three brothers were also Old Edwardians, and all served during the war: Arthur was killed serving with the King’s Liverpool Regiment in Mozambique; Bernard served in Gallipoli and was held prisoner in Turkey, later winning the Military Cross; and Norman won the Military Cross while serving with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Another Old Edwardian, Frank Devis, was boarding with the Jervis family while he attended KES, and he was also killed serving with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

At School, John was a prolific athlete. In gymnastics, he won the School Championship in 1909, coming second in the long jump the same year. In the 120 yards hurdles, he came third with a time of 18.6 seconds, and came second in the throwing of the cricket ball. John lost the putting of the weight by one inch, having lost by a tie to the same boy, EA Fiddian, in 1908. He was also a talented runner, a full back for the 1st XV with full rugby colours and a holder of full cricket colours, described as: “a rather unorthodox bat with a good eye…stronger in attack than defence…as a wicket keeper he has been of great value to the side with his smart stumping”. Academically, John was a member of the Second Class along with RQ Gilson, the Headmaster’s son.

John was preparing for Holy Orders at the Scholæ Cancellarii in Lincoln when war broke out. He enlisted as a Private Soldier in the Royal Fusiliers (Public School), in 1914. By 1915, he had gained a commission as a Second Lieutenant, and transferred to the Royal Flying Corps in 1916, acting as an Observer in the 5th Squadron. He was killed on 26th October 1916 while flying with his pilot, Lieutenant JS Smith, who was wounded in the incident. They were on an artillery observation mission from Marieux aerodrome when they were engaged by two enemy aircraft over Puisieux and were shot down. The wreckage was then destroyed by shellfire. One of the attacking aircraft was piloted by Oswald Boelcke of Jasta 2 (his 40th and final victory before his death two days later), whose account reported that: “I attacked and wounded the observer [Jervis] so he was unable to fire at me…[the machine] fell into the second line English trenches and burned up.” An account from the diary of James Kerr records that: “[Jervis] was shot dead in the air…had to be left in as he was wedged in the plane…a jolly decent chap was Jervis.” His body was recovered from the wrecked machine on 30th October, and was buried at Courcelles-au-Bois Communal Cemetery. The inscription on his headstone reads simply, “RIP.”