Stanstead Abbotts

Local History Society


Private 60143

1st Battalion Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment)

Formerly Bedfordshire Regiment

Killed in Action 25th March 1918 aged 36

Born on 10th January 1884, in Stanstead Abbotts, to parents Alfred and Ellen, he had three brothers and two sisters and in 1891 they lived in Riverside Cottages, High Street, Stanstead Abbotts.  His father was employed as a labourer.  They were still there in 1901 but his mother was now a widow.  Joseph married Edith Mary in 1904 and was living with her and their daughters, Annie and Ellen, in 1911, at Arthur’s Court, High Street, Stanstead Abbotts, his mother was living next door.  He was employed as a maltster’s labourer.

Joseph enlisted in the Bedfordshire Regiment as Private Number 29830 but was transferred to the Royal Fusiliers, City of London Regiment.

In March 1918 the German Army anxious to hasten the end of the War, before significant numbers of American troops could give the advantage to the allies and with most of their troops on the Eastern Front now available after the Russians withdrew from the War, after their November 1917 revolution, they launched a massive attack on the British and French lines beginning on 21st March.

Under the name of Operation Michael they broke through the British lines in a number of places South of Arras and to avoid being overrun the Allied forces began to retreat forcing Sir Douglas Haig, the British commander, to issue his famous “to the last man” order instructing his troops not to take another step back.  In a matter of just over a week German forces had pushed forward almost 50 miles into British and French held territory threatening the road to Paris. The advance however petered out as the German Army was unable to replace the casualties they suffered, and the Allied resistance stiffened.

Joseph Tyrell’s unit took part in fierce fighting around the French village of Lihons during the first two days of the battle, and it was hare that Joseph was killed.

He is buried in Lihons French National Cemetery, one of only 5 British soldiers buried there.

Medals Awarded: British War Medal, Victory Medal