Contributed by: Neil Barnes, on 2008-11-11
|Year of Birth||Unknown|
|Year of Death||Unknown|
|Place of Wartime Residence||Chorley, Lancashire|
Joseph was my great-granddad. His wife died before the war (I think of TB) she was a teacher from North Wales. His children(including my grandmother Margaret Brandon) were put into care and he joined the Territorials in the Lancashire Fusiliers (1/6th). They were the first territoral brigade to volunteer for overseas service and left Southampton docks on the S.S. Saturnia on the 9th September 1914 and set sail for Egypt.
However, their presence wasn't appreciated by all on board the ship to the East. One senior officer, serving with the socially elite Westminster Dragoons Territorial Cavalry Unit, had the following to say: "They clog dance on all occasions, look dirty and untidy and have bad manners. Good God, what a sight met my eyes between decks - shambles and filth. Their officers all say 'thee' and 'thou', even the captains. They are the commonest of men I ever saw. I would rather desert in Egypt than put up with the return journey. I can't think I left a valet and maid at home."
26th September 1914:There now commenced months of hellish desert training, including marches reaching up to 32 miles in the full heat of the day, complete with 65lb packs on their backs. Needless to say, the weak were soon weeded out. Eventually they were sent to fight the Turks at Gallipoli setting out from Egypt on 4th May 1915 (on board S.S.Nile?) They were now part of the 42nd East Lancashire Division. The 1/6th were involved in vicious fighting at Gully Spur - 6th May 1915 - and Krithia 4th June 1915. They repulsed a Turkish attack on 6/7th August 1915.
They eventually left Gallipoli and returned to Egypt for a while. Eventually in 1917 they were sent to France on the H.M.T Megantic which was torpedoed on the 24th February! By the 30th August 1917 they were based in Ypres, Belgium and got involved in the battle of Passchendaele, specifically an attack at frezenburg on the 6th September 1917. It is here I believe that Joseph got shell-shocked and was invalided out of the army before the end of the war. For the remainder of his life he had a nervous facial tick and he passed the following advice to my mother: "Never burn a living thing". We can only imagine what sights he must have seen...Coincidentally, my mother was born on the 11th November - Remembrance day - and Joseph always thought this was significant. He died in the 1950's.