Samuel John White


About Samuel John

  • Name
    Samuel John
  • Initials
    S J
  • Surname
  • Date of Birth
  • Birth town
    Great Yarmouth, Norfolk
  • Resided town
    Henstead, and Saxlingham, Norfolk
  • Commemorated
  • Nationality
  • Place of death
    Saxlingham, Norfolk
  • Date of death
    March 1938
  • Married
  • Occupation
    Railway signalman, Publican, Farm Labourer

Service Information

  • Army

  • Service Number
  • Rank
  • Regiment
    Royal Defence Corps


Samuel John White was born in 1857 at Great Yarmouth to parents Thomas Harper, a mariner, and Mary Ann (nee Parker).  In 1871, Samuel aged 14, was living at Camden Road, Donor Place, Great Yarmouth with his mother, Mary Ann (48) and five siblings; his father was not listed and it is assumed that he was at sea.

Samuel married Elizabeth Laycock in Great Yarmouth on 19 August 1878.  In 1881, they were living at Staithe, Hickling, Norfolk with their eight-month-old son, Egbert.  Samuel was a licenced victualler.  In 1891, they are living at the Cottage, Turnpike, Swardeston, Henstead, Norfolk.  Samuel was a railway signalman and they have five children, Egbert (10), Ella (8), Grace (5), Sidney (3) and Nora (2).  His wife, Elizabeth died in 1899, aged 42.

In 1901, the census lists Samuel as a widower and a railway signalman living at the Railway Signal Box, Swainsthorpe, Norfolk.  Samuel marries for the second time at Henstead in the September qtr 1901 to Agnes Harriett Copeman, but sadly she died in the December qtr 1901, aged 37.

Samuel married for the third time in Henstead on 27 October 1902 to Alice Eliza Brighton.   In 1911 Samuel and Alice are living at Saxlingham Thorpe, Norwich with his children Reginald (18) farm labourer, Ralph (14) domestic gardener, Selia (7) and Alfred (3) and various step-children and grandchildren.  Samuel is listed as a farm labourer.

Samuel attested on 7 October 1916, at Norwich joining the Royal Defence Corps, No 6 Protection Company, transferring to the No 55 Protection Company, based in Peterborough in November 1916.  He was 59 years 7 months when he joined up and gave his occupation as a carpenter.  He had previously served with the 1st and 9th Norfolk Regiment between 1894 and 1912.  He was demobilised on 4 March 1919.  Protection companies were attached to existing Territorial Force battalions for the guarding of railways and other vulnerable points in Britain and the work was often undertaken by men who had previously served in the armed forces.  Samuel passed through Peterborough East Station on 26 April 1917 and wrote in the visitors’ book “Many thanks for kindness shown to me a Stranger”.

Samuel died at Saxlingham, Norwich in March 1938, aged 81 years.

Three of Samuel’s sons served in the First World War.  Private Ralph White served with the Gloucestershire Regiment and was killed in action in France on 13 October 1915.  Private Reginald White served in the Norfolk Regiment and was killed in action in Ypres on 16 February 1916.  Private Egbert White served with the Royal Fusiliers and survived World War 1 although was severely disabled as a result of injuries sustained and was dismissed as no longer fit for service in May 1916.

Can you tell us more about Samuel and his family? Please get in touch if you recognise his story.




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