Object: Portrait of John Jessen
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|Title||Portrait of John Jessen|
Berry & Co (copyist), 1916-1919, Wellington
|Medium summary||black and white glass negative|
|Materials||photographic gelatin, sheet glass, silver, photographic plates|
|Classification||studio portraits, portraits, black-and-white negatives, gelatin dry plate negatives|
|Format||half plate (1/2)|
|Credit line||Purchased 1998 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds|
John Jessen, service number 2/1
This is a copy by the Berry studio of an original photograph of Sergeant-Major John Jessen, of the New Zealand Field Artillery.
John Jessen was born in Mauriceville to William August and Christine Jessen in the same year as their marriage, 1890. The family had moved to Wellington by 1908, when John joined 'D' Battery of the New Zealand Field Artillery Volunteers. By 1914 he was the unit's Battery Sergeant-Major.
John's service number of 2/1 tells us that he was the first man to enlist from the Wellington area after war was declared. On 8 August 1914 he attested for service with the Samoan Advance Party which departed from Wellington bound for Apia on 15 August. Returning from Samoa on the 22nd March 1915 he was discharged on his own request and returned to his job as a clerk in the New Zealand Railways.
At the end of 1915 John Jessen was among a number of non-commissioned officers called up to join the 14th reinforcements for the Western Front. He was killed in action in France on the 24th August 1918, aged 28.
His brother Donald Jessen also served as a Gunner in the New Zealand Field Artillery and died of illness the following year. Both soldiers were commemorated by their parents in advertisements placed in the Evening Post.
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