Rank: Acting Sergeant
Number: 52562
Unit: 94th Company ROYAL ENGINEERS
Date of Death: 10 September 1915
Age: 35
Cemetery: Merville Communal Cemetery, Nord, France

Joseph was born in Stockport in 1879. Nothing has been discovered of his early life but it's known that he was a member of the 4th Volunteer Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment. This was the forerunner of the Territorial Force and Joseph served with the Battalion in South Africa during the Boer War. Returning home, he married Mary Jane Platt at St Mary's Church in the late summer of 1904. They are thought to have set up home at 13 Hartley Street, Edgeley and, over the years, would have five children together. Joseph earned his living as a brush maker for Frederick Coxon & Sons Ltd of Tiviot Dale.

Joseph travelled to Manchester to enlist and his service number suggests that this was fairly soon after War was declared in August 1914. He was assigned to the newly formed 94th Company. The troops crossed to France in mid-July 1915 and had only moved to near the front line at the end of August.

An Engineers' Field Company numbered about 210 troops. About two-thirds of the men undertook construction work and, usually, had been tradesmen in civilian life. The remainder were "mounted" troops - mainly driving horse-drawn wagons which carried the supplies. Joseph was one of the sergeants in charge of the mounted troops and would have had his own horse. On 10 September, he was supervising the wagons bringing the supplies forward when there was an accident. No details are available - perhaps he simply fell off the horse. In any event, he suffered a fractured skull and was evacuated to one of the two field hospitals (casualty clearing stations) at nearby Merville. Unfortunately, nothing could be done to save his life.

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