Joseph WELBOURN
Rank: Private
Number: 25268
Unit: 15th Battalion CHESHIRE Regiment
Date of Death: 18 April 1917
Age: 41
Cemetery: Roisel Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, France

Joseph was born in Stockport and had joined the army as a young man. He had served for 18 years as a regular. It's not known when he left the army, but it would have been more than 7 years before war was declared. Regulars had to serve this period of time in the reserve and he would otherwise have been recalled in August 1914. As it was, he did not re-enlist until 1 February 1915.

In the intervening years, he married and lived with his wife and their four children at 5 George Street in the Newbridge Lane area of Stockport. Joseph worked for Edwards & Co in Manchester, but it is not known in what capacity.

In early 1917, the German Army made a planned withdrawal to a previously prepared and fortified trench system which became known as the Hindenberg Line. The British Army followed, keeping in touch for several weeks until, by April, the withdrawal was complete. The British now had to dig and construct defences of their own in front of the new German trenches. The 15th Cheshires moved into an old German trench system near Maissemmy, some 7 kilometres west of the French town of St Quentin. Of course, the German artillery had exactly the range as they knew exactly where the trench was. It enabled them to shell very accurately, which is what happened on 18 April. Joseph and a Joseph Ryan from the Glossop area were killed.

Further information about Joseph can be found in the book "Hazel Grove to Armageddon" by John Eaton. Information about the Cheshires during April 1917 has been taken from the book

   
           
   
     
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