Kenneth John 'Jack' Coleman was the son of a Sandon shepherd. He worked as a shop assistant and carpenter before marrying at Writtle in 1935. Jack served in the army in north Africa and Italy. He was killed in action at the latter in August 1944. At the time his wife was living with her parents in Writtle while his widowed mother was at West Avenue in Chelmsford.
Jack was born in Essex in 1912, the youngest son of Joseph John Coleman (1871-1939) and Emily Ann Coleman (nee English) (1876-1953). The couple had married in 1896 in Essex.
The year before his birth Jack's parents and his elder siblings lived at Gable Cottages in Sandon. Those siblings included William George Coleman (1897-1981), Dorothy Maud Coleman (born in 1899), Percy Victor Coleman (1901-1953), Edith Eudora Coleman (1904-1969), and Edward James Coleman (1909-1976).
Jack's brother-in-law, Albert Dines, husband of Jack's eldest sister, died in 1918 while serving with the London Regiment.
In Jjune 1930 Jack appeared before the Chelmsford magistrates. A Chelmsford newspaper reported:
"Kenneth John Coleman, shop assistant, Sandon Place, Sandon, admitted driving a motor cycle at a speed exceeding ten miles an hour at Chelmsford on June 6. P.c .Oakley said that while on the Stone Bridge he saw the defendant riding a motor cycle which made a "loud exhaust noise." It had no proper silencer. Defendant said the machine did not make very much noise. There were plenty of machines about that were more noise. The Mayor: 'That is the trouble. Tnere are too many of these noisy motor cycles. This nuisance must be stopped, and the fine will 12/6.'"
As well as working as a shop assistant Jack worked for Marconi's as a carpenter.
In 1935 Jack married Phyllis Louise Wood (1912-1990) at All Saints' Church in Writtle. A Chelmsford newspaper reported:
"WRITTLE - SANDON WEDDING. The marriage was solemnised at All Saints' Church on Saturday of Miss Phyllis Louise Wood, only daughter of the late Mr. Albert William Wood, and elder daughter of Mrs. J. Lang, of 31 St. John's Road, Writtle, to Mr. Kenneth John (" Jack") Coleman, youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph John Coleman, Sandon Place.
The Vicar, the Rev. J. H. Upton, officiated. The bride, who was given away by her stepfather, Mr. J. Lang, wore an ankle-length dress of silk embroidered ninon, with veil and orange blossom, and headdress of pearls, and carried a bouquet of scarlet tulips, mimosa, and smilax. The bridesmaids, the Misses Jean Strang Lang (the bride's sister) and Mary Louise Wilson (her cousin), were respectively in green and yellow silk, with headdresses of green and golden leaves, and carried daffodils. Their crystal necklaces were the gift of the bridegroom. Mr. Peter Coleman was best man.
Kenneth John COLEMAN, Private, Somerset Light Infantry
Killed in action Italy. Aged 32
A reception was held in the Church Room by the bride's mother, and later Mr. and Mrs. Jack Coleman left for Somerset for their honeymoon, the bride travelling in a carmine dress, with tweed coat and hat to match. The 50 presents included an oak clock, jam spoon, and butter knife from the staff of the Chelmsford Egg Factory, where the bride had been employed."
In 1943 their home, at 45 First Avenue, Chelmsford, was severely damaged in an air raid.
On June 12th that year Jack was best man when his brother Edward married at St. John's Church, Moulsham.
Around that time Jack joined the army and his wife went to live with her mother and step-father at 31 St. John's Road in Writtle. Jack served as Private 14601541 on the Somerset Light Infantry, went to North Africa and then to Italy.
On 5th August 1944 Jack was killed in action in Italy. He was 32 years old. Just four days before his death he had written to his wife explaining that he had been in action for 19 days and was looking forwards to a good rest in a spring bed.
Today Jack lies in grave I. G. 14 in Florence War Cemetery in Italy.
At the time of his death Jack's widowed mother was living at 82 West Avenue in Chelmsford. His widow was at 31 St. John's Road in Writtle.