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Joseph Sharp was born on the 27th April 1882 in Preston to John and Margaret Sharp.

Joseph’s father John was a cotton loom fitter and in 1891 the family resided at 8 Young Street, Preston.

Joseph and Margaret (nee Loftus) married in 1875 and had five children, only three surviving beyond infancy namely Elizabeth (1877), Joseph Beatie (1882) and John Edgar (1887).

Joseph’s mother Margaret died aged 37 years in 1892 and his father John married Sarah Ormerod in 1895. In 1901 the family resided at 61 Wilbraham Street and John’s occupation is stated to be a disabled loom fitter.

By 1911 Joseph and John had left the family home and were lodging at 28, Fitzgerald Street. Joseph’s occupation is shown as a window cleaner and John shown as a piecer.

Joseph Sharp married Alice Cowell at St. Mary’s Church, Preston on the 24th March 1913. Alice’s occupation is shown as a ring spinner and his as a window cleaner. His address was 30, Fitzgerald Street, Preston. Joseph’s father’s occupation at this date is shown as a newsagent.

Joseph Sharp attested under the Derby scheme on the 10th December 1915 at Preston and was placed into the Army Reserve. He gave his age as being 29 years 8 months which was in fact four years less than his true age.

At this time he gave his address as 48, Richmond Street, Preston where he resided with his wife and two children Ellen born 2/3/1914 and Margaret born 9/9/16.

He was mobilized to the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment on the 6th January 1917 and remained in the UK until the 29th May 1917 when he embarked for France sailing from Folkestone to Boulogne and joined the 25th Infantry Base Depot at Etaples on the 30th May 1917.

Joseph remained at the Depot until posted to the 1st/4th Battalion on the 16th June 1917 and joined the Battalion in the field on the 23rd June 1917. At this time the Battalion was out of the line.

On the 9th July the Battalion relieved the 1st/4th Royal Lancaster Regiment in trenches north east of Ypres. The Battalion was active whilst in the line maintaining fighting patrols in no man’s land and carried out a trench raid on the 20th July 1917.

On the 22nd July the Battalion was relieved and moved to billets near Poperinghe where on the 28th July the battalion learned of their role in the forthcoming offensive which became known as the battle of Pilckem Ridge which was part of the Passchendaele Campaign.

The Battalion formed part of 164 Brigade which was part of the 55th Division.

The attack commenced at 3.50am on the 31st July 1917 involving initially 165 & 166 Brigades of the 55th Division. 164 Brigade and the 1st/4th Loyals were part of the later actions moving forwards at 10.10 am moving towards the objectives.

Early progress was good with light casualties mainly from fire from strongpoint pill boxes. During the advance towards the Green Line objective five batteries of 77mm guns were captured.
The Green line was taken at 11.40am and held with adjoining units until being forced to retreat following counter attacks by the enemy at around 2pm.

Relief of the Battalion by units of the 165 Brigade was completed by 1.15am and the Battalion moved back to their start point with some stragglers remaining behind for up to 24 hours with the relieving troops.

During the operation the battalion sustained a total of 319 casualties which included 44 killed, 179 wounded and 77 missing. Joseph Sharp was one of the missing.

It was later confirmed that Joseph Sharp had been taken prisoner by the enemy during the action and was held at Dulmen camp but later was moved to Bayreuth camp where it appears he remained until the end of hostilities. Life for the POW’s in the camps was hard and food was short. Prisoners were required to work whilst in captivity. What type of work was undertaken by Joseph is unknown.

Joseph Sharp is next heard of on the 28th December 1918 when he was admitted to No. 30 General Hospital at Calais after being ill for four days. He was diagnosed as suffering from bronchitis and died four days later on the 1st January 1919. His death was adjudged to have arisen as a result of his war service. Joseph is buried at Les Baraques Military Cemetery, Sangatte, France.

Joseph Sharp's Memorial Plaque

Joseph Sharp’s Memorial Plaque

Following his death Alice his widow received his Victory and British War Medal along with his memorial plaque and scroll. She also received his effects from France. At this time Alice was residing with her parents at 32, Stourton Street, Preston.

Alice was awarded a pension of 23 shillings and five pence a week for herself and her two children. She never remarried and died in 1967.

Joseph Sharp is recorded on the Roll of Honour at the Harris Library and his name is shown on the names on the steps of the library.

Harris Library Steps

Harris Library Steps

Rank: Private
Service No: 203718
Date of Death: 01/01/1919
Age: 35
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/4th Bn.

NOTE: Joseph’s younger brother John Sharp served as Private 35964 in the 17th Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers. He was killed in action on the 22nd October 1917. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial. He left a widow Dinah and a four year old daughter.

He is also remembered on the Preston Roll of Honour and on the Harris Library steps. His occupation like his brother is shown as being a window cleaner.

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