Update January 2017 – Reviewing the Forum of IFCP I picked up the prospect that the local Council may have a database burial records. Manchester City Council has online records, so I looked for similar on Salford City Council’s site. I found that I needed to email Salford City and had an anticipated acknowledgement that I would wait 7-10 days for a response. How Wrong I was to assume Salford City would be slow!
Within half an hour of my email the wonderful staff dealing with the burial records responded. Jayne Savage sent me the Record of Joseph’s burial with a map for my visit. The next morning, one of Jane’s colleagues then took the frosty photo of the ‘new’ War Grave at Agecroft Cemetery. I’ve reported the grave to IFCP and will post another photo when the grave is formally acknowledged by CWGC.
Thanks to Jane Savage and the chilly person who took the frosty pic. Also thanks to Garry Helsby of SWARM for the clearer photos and support in this research.
Updated Post October 2016 – It’s great to report the new Commemoration of Corporal 8937 Joseph Locker as a lost soldier of the Great War and his last resting place would now be recognised as a War Grave.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) commemorates men and women who died during the First and Second World Wars in service or of causes attributable to service. There are some instances where records were not obtained or connected at the time and recognition was not made of a particular man or woman’s loss. With the help of other researchers on Salford War Memorials and The Manchester Regiment Group Forum evidence was provided to IFCP to request CWGC to consider Joseph for a new commemoration. CWGC confirmed acceptance of the case on 12th February.
Update In October 1916 Joseph finally received his name on a CWGC Memorial. The Brookwood 1914-18 Memorial commemorates service men and woman with no known grave, most who died at home in the UK. It was a special moment to see freshly cut stone inscription in the stone panel at Brookwood. This is Memorial is only a few years old, yet the addition of 70 names shows the continuing interest in the Great War, clearly helping perpetuate the memory of the men who fought and died in the conflict.
Joseph Locker had been a pre-war Soldier in the Manchester Regiment, having enlisted in July 1903. He also served in the 5th Manchesters, before starting his time posted to Reserve from July 1906. At the outbreak of hostilities, members of the Reserve were called up for Service and Joseph was mobilised on 5th August. Joseph had been working as a cabinet makers packer for the Co-Operative Wholesale Society Cabinet Factory in Broughton. It is likely he had held this job since at least 1911. He will have refreshed his training serving with the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion at the Humber Defences in Cleethorpes where he was promoted Corporal on 15th September. As part of a draft to the 2nd Battalion Manchester Regiment, Joseph arrived in France on 8th October.
The British Army were fighting a rear guard action in the ‘Race to the Sea’. In October 1914 this focussed on battles at Neuve Chapelle, Givenchy and La Basse. Joseph suffered a bullet wound to the cheek at La Basse on 29th October. He was evacuated home on 2nd November. Pension Records show Joseph received treatment in Hospital for Pulmonary Tuberculosis prior to his discharge from the Army in May 1915.
Joseph will have returned home to 15 Warwick Street, Higher Broughton in Salford where he will have been cared for by his wife Charlotte, who he had married in 1912. Joseph died on 11th August 1916. He was 30 years old.
Joseph’s Death Certificate clearly shows he died from phthisis pulmonalis (TB) rather than complications from bullet wounds. Therefore the records didn’t immediately show his cause of death as being connected with his Army service. Furthermore the Medical records identify the TB as originating in Manchester, rather than arising in his short time back in Service. Nevertheless, the Pension Records held by National Archive makes repeated reference to the condition being aggravated by exposure in the trenches. This is why CWGC have embraced Joseph Locker as dying from causes attributable to service.
Joseph is commemorated on the Co-Operative Wholesale Society memorial in Co-Op’s Old Bank Building in Corporation Street, Manchester. He is also included on the Memorial for St Clements with St Matthias. In the event we find Joseph’s grave, this will also be commemorated by CWGC. Until this time, Corporal Joseph Locker of 2nd Battalion was originally commemorated in CWGC’s UK Book of Rememberance before his inscription was made at Brookwood.
CWS Memorial, Manchester
Brookwood additions October 2016