Rank: Private
Number: 31087
Unit: 13th Battalion CHESHIRE REGIMENT
Date of Death: 2 September 1917
Age: 37
Cemetery: Birr Cross Roads Cemetery, Ieper, Belgium

Before the war, Joseph had worked as a gold printer, for 24 years, at Messrs T W Bracher, Leather Works. He lived on Acre Lane, Bramhall with his wife. He was native to the area and his parents farmed at Hurst Head Farm. The 1901 Census notes that his parents were George and Hannah and Joseph lived at the family home and was the fourth of six children living there.

He enlisted around June 1916, at Stockport, and had been on leave some 6 weeks before his death, when he had helped on the farm gathering the hay.

Throughout August, Joseph’s Battalion was in training near Steenvoorde, in northern France. On 2 September, it left Palace Camp by bus, reaching Ypres (now Ieper) by early evening. It then marched about 3 kilometres to the east of the town to relieve a battalion of the London Regiment in trenches on Bellewaarde Ridge. Both sides tended to know when reliefs were likely to be made and it was a favourite time for the artillery to shell the trenches opposite, in the hope of demoralising the troops and causing casualties. This day was no exception and, as the Cheshires were moving into a position, a shell killed Joseph and one other soldier.

(NB: Original research by John Hartley for the Cheadle & Gatley War Memorials website)

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