Rank: Private
Number: 18387
Unit: 1st Battalion CHESHIRE REGIMENT
Date of Death: 20 June 1915
Age: 20
Cemetery: Menin Gate Memorial, Ieper, Belgium

Joseph had been born in Disley, the son of Richard Thomas Ardern and Hannah Maria Ardern, between October and December 1895. He worked as a spinner at Goyt Mill, Marple and enlisted in the army at Stockport, probably in the autumn of 1914.

On the day he was killed, Joe’s Battalion were in the trenches at Zillebeke, 5 kilometres south west of Ypres (now Ieper). The Stockport Advertiser reported that on the Sunday morning “a German aeroplane came over the trench where he was stationed. He fired at it and was stooping down to examine his rifle when a missile came down from the aeroplane which pierced his neck, killing him instantly.” The missile was a 6 inch metal dart known as a Flechette which was the standard anti-personnel device fitted in German aircraft at the time.

The book “Remembered” by P Clarke, A Cook and J Bintliff notes that Joe was buried in Tuileries British Cemetery which is just behind the Cheshires front line position. Several graves, including Joe’s, were destroyed by artillery fire later in the War and, in consequence, he is now commemorated on the Memorial to the Missing. “Remembered” contains more information about Joe, including a photograph.

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