New Page 1
was born on Saturday 22nd February 1919 at Kirkley on the outskirts
of Lowestoft. He was one of six
siblings and they were all part of a family that over the previous three
generations had transitioned from farming to become part of the famous fishing
fleet that sailed from Lowestoft.
the age of four years old, Jack’s family, and his uncle’s family, moved to
Town House, a large house beside the river at Thorpe St Andrew that was able to
accommodate four adults and twelve children.
His grandfather, John Henry Jenner, was shrewd enough to notice the
decline in the fishing industry after the First World War and he decided to set
up a Hire Fleet business designed to provide boating holidays on the Broads at
Norfolk and Suffolk. The Jenner
family were among the first to hire boats on the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads.
father, and Jack’s uncle, ran this business on behalf of their father until he
died in November 1933 and between them they were able to prosper and give birth
to a hugely successful business that went by the name of Jenner’s
of Thorpe. Jack recalls that
the business displayed a red pennant flag with the words in white and remembered
that the red background was changed to blue on the death of his grandfather.
Their success in the company was interrupted by the declaration of War
against Germany on the 1st September 1939 and because of his
extensive background in Marine Engineering, Jack was called-up and enlisted into
were uncertain times and because he had been dating his sweetheart Elsie prior
to enlisting, they decided to marry in December 1939.
Their family would be completed by the arrival of three sons; Michael in
April 1942; Trevor in April 1947 and their baby, Timothy, was born in October
went to Colchester to complete his basic training before being assigned to the
71st Field Company of the Royal Engineers.
He recalled that life in the forces had largely been about drilling,
training and simulations, as well as a very welcome promotion to Sergeant.
But all this was about to change on the 6th June 1944 when at
1000hours his Company were part of the D day landings, landing at Queens Beach,
Oisterham before being tasked to proceed to Pegasus Bridge over the Caen Canal.
His company were tasked to complete any repairs to the bridge and to keep
it operational, as well as to move forward to other bridges to facilitate the
advance of the allied forces.
of his childhood experiences of manoeuvring boats, Sgt Jack Jenner was quickly
put in charge of getting the floating pontoons down the river and into position,
often under enemy fire from the far bank. By
August, his Company had reached the River Seine at Vernon and they set about
erecting a 642foot Bailey Bridge across the river.
They were always under severe enemy fire and as a consequence of his part
in this vital operation, he was awarded the Military Medal.
By the time that the civilian population in Britain were celebrating VE
day, on the 8th May 1945, Jack and his Company were in the process of
building their 22nd bridge since the D day landings, the only change
for him was that they were no longer under enemy fire!
In June 2019 Jack was awarded the Legion d’Honneur from the President
of France in recognition of the part that he played in the liberation of France.
was not until June 1946 that Jack was finally discharged from the Army and was
able to return to Thorpe to restart his civilian life…but many things had
changed since 1939.
he joined the Army in Sept. 1939 he had great prospects. His father’s Boat
Business was thriving and he was playing a leading role in its development, he
had a car, he lived in a grand riverside house and he basically had what could
be fairly described as a privileged life with great expectations for the future.
The war years changed all of that.
and brother Bill established Jenner Brothers in 1960 on the river Yare at
Thorpe St. Andrew as a worthy successor to Jenner’s of Thorpe, they soon
released that their chosen identity Jenner Brothers would be confusing in view
of the continued existence of Jenner’s of Thorpe, so they changed the name of
their yard to Maiden Craft and successfully operated until 1985 when Jack and
Bill decided to retire and sell the business.
To quote Jack “We would both consider ourselves very fortunate to have
worked at something which would have otherwise been our hobby”
stood down in 1985 as chairman of the Broadland Owners Association after nine
years heading the association which represented Hoseasons Holidays.
was a long-standing member of the Yare Sailing Club.
The Jenner name lives on with The Jenner Trophy competed for in the youth
race at the Yare Sailing Club Cantley Autumn Regatta.