Title / object name
Copy of a portrait of John Jessen
|Maker ||Role ||Date |
|Berry & Co ||photography studio ||1914-1919 |
black and white glass negativeMaterials
photographic gelatin, sheet glass, silver, photographic plates
half plate (1/2)Classification
studio portraits, portraits, black-and-white negatives, gelatin dry plate negatives
Purchased 1998 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds
John Jessen, serial number 2/1
This is a copy of photograph of John Jessen.
John Jessen was born in Mauriceville to parents William August and Christine Jessen in the same year as their marriage, 1890. The family had moved to Wellington by 1908, when john joined the D Battery of the New Zealand Field Artillery Volunteers. In 1914 he joined the New Zealand Expeditionary Force who departed for Samoa on the 8th August. Returning from Samoa on the 22nd March 1915 he was discharged on his own request and went to work as a clerk in the New Zealand Government Thorndon Railway Station. On discharge he held the rank of Battery Sergeant Major.
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. By this point he held the rank of Bombardier and was part of the 9th Battery. He is buried in Achiet-le-Grand Communal Cemetery Extension in grave IV.P.3.
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 adverts placed in the Evening Post (see Papers Past links).
John's service number was 2/1.I know who this is
The Berry Boys
During World War I, around 120 Kiwi soldiers had their photograph taken at Wellington’s Berry & Co photography studio before they left New Zealand to fight in the war . These portraits are now in Te Papa’s collection.
In the lead-up to the World War I centenary (2014-18), Te Papa is working to identify these soldiers and the loved ones they are pictured with. We want to make contact with their descendants, and to record their stories.
Some soldiers have already been identified. For others, we only have the surname etched on the glass negative.
If you have any information you can share about the Berry Boys - either a soldier or someone they are photographed with - please use the online form above. You can also email email@example.com or leave a phone message for us on 04 381 7129. You can also write to Berry Boys Project Team, Te Papa, PO Box 467, Wellington 6140.
To aid identification, please be sure to include the Te Papa registration number (B.044366, for example) for the photo in question.