Stanstead Abbotts

Local History Society


Private 201174

4th Battalion Essex Regiment

Formerly 6th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment

Killed in Action 3rd November 1917 aged 28

Born in 1889, in Stanstead Abbotts and lived with his parents Charles and Susan plus 4 brothers and 4 sisters at the north Wing of Stanstead Bury farm where his father was the farm foreman and Joseph himself was a domestic under gardener.

Joseph joined the army in 1915 in the Bedfordshire Regiment but was transferred to the Essex Regiment in the 4th Battalion.  He spent the rest of his life in a theatre of war fighting against the Ottoman Empire.  His enlistment papers were destroyed during the blitz in 1940 but had he joined prior to March 1915 he may have served in Gallipoli where they would have landed at Suvla Bay on 12th August 1915. Following their evacuation from Gallipoli in December 1915 they would have been posted to Egypt.  But by 1917 he was serving with his unit in Palestine.

On the 2nd November the 4th Essex received new orders to attack Belan Ridge, as part of the 3rd Battle of Gaza.  They moved up to Gun Hill at 23.00 on 2nd November and at 04.00 on the morning of 3rd the attack went in following a heavy artillery barrage which lifted at 04.30; they attacked a Turkish trench which was captured after fierce fighting.  An enemy counter attack followed and the 4th Essex was forced back to Gun Hill.  During the attack 3 Officers and 280 other ranks were killed, including Joseph, and no ground had been gained, at 08.00 the battalion returned to bivouac in Sugar Valley.  

He is buried in the Gaza War Cemetery.

Medals Awarded: British War Medal, Victory Medal