Joseph POWELL
Rank: Private
Number: 109116
Unit: 1st Battalion SHERWOOD FORESTERS
Date of Death: 27 May 1918
Age: 19
Cemetery: Soissons Memorial. Aisne, France

In 1901, when the census was taken, Joseph was the youngest of the six children of William and Sarah. They were living at 2 Sharples Street in the Lancashire Hill area of Stockport, where William ran a fruit shop. Nothing else is known of Joseph's life (except that, after the War, Mr & Mrs Powell were known to be living at 27 Brinksway Road.

Joseph's service number confirms that he cannot have been in the army for very long and was, no doubt, conscripted when he became 18.

Sunday, 26 May 1918 was quiet day for the men. They were in reserve billets at Ventelay and church services were held. Towards evening, they again moved towards the front line, taking up support positions near Roucy.

At 1am, on the 27th, the Germans launched the third and final phase of their spring offensive. The intent was to thrust towards Paris in the hope of a major breakthrough between French and British defences. The fighting opened with a German artillery and gas barrage on Ventelay and the rear areas. At 4.30, the Foresters were ordered forward to the main defence line. Fierce fighting took place and there were many casualties before the Battalion was forced into retreat. Joseph and another local man, John Hulme, were amongst the dead. Their bodies will have been buried with respect by the Germans but there will have been little interest in making individual identifications. Neither man now has a known grave.

   
           
   
     
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