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Jack Gosnay

Jack GosnayGuardsman Jack Gosnay, 2616827, 1st Battalion, Grenadier Guards.

Jack Gosnay was born in Ossett in summer 1919, the youngest child and fourth son of rag merchant William Gosnay of Chickenley Heath and Emma Wolstenholme of 4, Central Street, Dewsbury, who were married at Dewsbury All Saints Parish Church on the 2nd November 1909. William Gosnay had been married previously, in late 1899, to Mary Scholey who sadly died in December 1904 without issue and was buried in Ossett Holy Trinity in January 1905. Jack had two living older brothers: Arthur born in 1910, Joseph, born in 1911, but who sadly died in early 1912. Bernard, born in 1913 and a sister Amy, born in 1915.

William Gosnay died in April 1921 leaving his widow Emma to bring up four children. By 1939, Emma Gosnay, a widow, was living at 43, Chancery Lane, Ossett with her sons Bernard and Arthur plus Arthur’s wife, Gladys. One name is redacted on the record and this is quite possibly Jack Gosnay, whom by this time was 20 years of age.

The "Ossett Observer" had this obituary for Jack Gosnay:1

"GAWTHORPE SOLDIER'S TRAGIC END - DROWNED IN SOUTH WALES: Information has been received that Guardsman Jack Gosnay (23), youngest son of Mrs. and the late Mr. William Gosnay, 43 Chancery Lane, Ossett, has died at Linney Head, Pembrokeshire, South Wales as a result of an accident

It appears that with two other guardsmen, Gosnay was visiting Pembroke Dock to attend a dance at Llanion, and, after going down to the town, the three lost their way, and walked along Pier Road. It was about 10:30 p.m., and was very dark and windy. Being strangers to the town, they had no idea where they were going, until they came to the edge of the pier, and Gosnay slipped over.

His two companions made a frantic search for him, but in such a storm it was a hopeless task. They immediately reported the matter to their officer, and later another search was made, without success. The body was recovered on Tuesday afternoon after a 14 year-old boy had seen it on the right of Hobbs Point. He gave information to the head air-raid warden, who, with two other wardens carried the body to the pier. The police were communicated with.

Jack GosnayThe inquest was held at Pembroke Dock on Thursday, when the body was identified by Messrs. Arthur and Bernard Gosnay, brothers. Corporal Friar said that, on the night in question, he attended a dance with Gosnay, both going out in company with another Guardsman to have a drink. They were returning about 10:30 p.m., and, noticing some gates, decided to pass through them. They did not know where they were, it being dark and stormy at the time. Witness suddenly thought he saw something shining on the surface of some water, and shouted to Gosnay to be careful, but it was too late.

Guardsman Brannan corroborated, and Dr. L.D. Masso, Lieutenant, R.A.M.C., who examined the body, said there was a mark over the right eye about half an inch long. Death was due to asphyxia from drowning. A verdict of "Accidental death" was recorded. The body is being brought to Ossett for internment at the Parish Church today.

A native of Ossett, Gosnay attended Chickenley Lane and Gawthorpe Council Schools, and afterwards was employed at Armitage's brickworks, Woodkirk, as an electric crane driver. He joined up with the Coldstream Guards in October 1939, and served in France for three or four months, being evacuated from Le Havre. He had attended Gawthorpe Parish Church and Sunday School for some years."

Guardsman Jack Gosnay died as the result of an accident on the 8th February 1943 aged 23 years and is buried at Row 26, Grave 2 at Holy Trinity Churchyard, Ossett.2


1. "Ossett Observer", Saturday, February 13th 1943.

2. Commonwealth War Graves Commission web site

3. Private correspondence with Annette Bell, the niece of Jack Gosnay.