Private Jogendra (John) N. Sen
Born. 1887 in Chandenagore, Bengal, India.
Killed In Action. May 22nd 1916.
THE ONLY INDIAN SOLDIER TO SERVE WITH THE LEEDS "PALS" BATTALION OR ANY OTHER BATTALION OF THE WEST YORKSHIRE REGIMENT DURING THE GREAT WAR.
Jogendra N Sen a single man, had studied at Leeds University from l9lO until 1913, gaining a BA in engineering. He was continuing his University studies whilst working on the staff at Leeds Corporation Electric Lighting station on Whitehall Road, Leeds, as assistant engineer.
When the "Pals" Battalion was formed in September l9l4, he was one of the first to volunteer. Prior to joining he had lodged in Grosvenor Place, Blackman Lane, Leeds. His mother, who was widowed lived in India.
The following is a quote from Arthur Dalby during an interview with Laurie Milner in 1988:
"We had a Hindu in our hut, called Jon Sen. He was the best educated man in the battalion and he spoke about seven languages but he was never allowed to be even a lance corporal because in those days they would never let a coloured fellow be over a white man, not in England, but he was the best educated. He was at university when he joined up."
OBITUARY FROM YORKSHIRE EVENING POST
FRIDAY June 2nd 1916.
LEEDS " PALS " LOSE AN INDIAN COMRADE.
PRIVATE SEN KILLED IN ACTION
Among the casualties in the Leeds 'Pals' Battalion one is reported today which has a singular interest. A young Indian named J. N. Sen, a native of Chandenagore, Bengal, came to the Leeds University in October, 1910, to study and after taking an engineering course for three years, graduated as bachelor of science. Soon afterwards he acquired a position under the manager of the Leeds Corporation Electric Lighting station in Whitehall, ultimately was placed on the staff as an assistant engineer. While there he gave much promise of a successful career and being of a cheerful disposition, was much liked by everybody. When the 'Pals' Battalion was formed in September 1914, Private Sen, who was then 27 years of age, became one of it's first members. He has been killed.
Several months ago when the 'Pals' paraded in the City, Private Sen came in for much notice because of his evident connection with the East. He was a single man and his Mother resides in India. Prior to joining the colours he lodged in Grosvenor Place, Blackman Lane, Leeds West Yorkshire.
The circumstances regarding Pte Sen's death did not become apparent until January 2001 when a letter written by another Leeds Pal ( 15/64 - Pte Harold Burniston), to his Father, was kindly donated by a relative.
An excerpt from the letter reads:- ' we suffered a good many casualties ourselves and it was soon after we got back that I heard poor John Sen had been brought in killed. He was hit in the leg and neck by shrapnel and died almost immediately. He was evidently hit in the leg first as when they fetched him in he had a bandage tied round it and must have been bandaging it up when he was hit again in the neck which killed him.
The letter was written shortly before Pte Burniston's death on July 1st 1916 and can be seen in it's entirety on the page dedicated to him.
We would like to express our thanks to the relative of Pte Harold Burniston as through their generosity, an 85 year old mystery has been solved - Thank you.