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Joseph Robinson was born in Preston in 1893 the son of William and Mary Ann Robinson (nee Kellet). His parents married in the Parish Church of St. John on the 4th June 1876 and they went on to have nine children, eight of whom survived infancy;

  • Robert (1877)
  • James (1879)
  • Mary (1882)
  • Nancy (1884-1887)
  • William (1886)
  • Ann (1889)
  • Joseph (1893)*
  • Thomas (1895)
  • Nancy (1900)

When his parents married in 1876 both William and Mary Ann gave their occupation as `boatman`, working the Preston to Lancaster canal. However, in 1891 two years before Joseph was born his father William was working as a general labourer and the family`s home was at 14 Ladywell Street in Preston. Ten years later when the 1901 Census was recorded the family had moved to 21 Edward Street and Joseph`s father had gone back to working on the canal boats along with his 14 year old brother William.

By 1911 Joseph, his parents and his two sisters`, Mary and Nancy had moved back to number 10 Ladywell Street and this is where they would remain for many years. His father was now a general carter and Joseph had gone to work on the canal boats as a labourer. The house also had another eight occupants, all described as `boarders`; Jane True, single, aged 29 and her 4 year old son Frederick; Mary Robinson, aged 9 and Annie Robinson aged 7; Edward Browett, aged 20 with his wife Ann aged 22 and their daughter Mary aged 7 months and there was also an 8 year old girl Sarah Ann Browett.

Joseph`s service papers no longer exist but we know that at some point he enlisted into the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and was issued with the service number 22715. He embarked for France after January 1916 and was later posted to the 10th Battalion LNL. The 10th Battalion had sailed for France on the 31st July 1915 as part of the 112th Brigade of 37th Division. From the middle of September until the end of June 1916 the Battalion was more or less in the same area around Gommecourt, taking their turn in the trenches in and about Bienvillers, Hannescamps and Humbercamps.

On the 18th June 1916 went into support billets at Bienvillers, remaining there for four days before going back into the trenches on the 23rd;

Extract from the 10th Battalion War Diary

23rd June 1916

The 10th Bn Loyal North Lancashire Regiment relieved the 6th Bedford`s in the trenches at 17:30hrs, relief being complete by 19:15hrs.

24th June 1916

This morning we heavily bombarded the enemy line opposite Gommecourt – this bombardment lasted all day. At 16:30hrs the firing ceased and aeroplanes went up to see what damage was done. Trenches in a bad muddy condition.

25th June 1916

Enemy active with minenwerfer and large shells. Heavy bombardment practically all day both on our immediate front and on the following points; Essarts, Pigeon Wood, La Brayelle Fme, the `Z` and Gommecourt.

26th June 1916

Another severe bombardment by our artillery, enemies reply much feebler than preceding day. Trenches still in a very bad condition rained 2 or 3 times during the day.

27th June 1916

Bombardment in the morning. At 14:00hrs we discharged some gas – the enemy retaliated with great vigour. Casualties up to date: 46 other ranks.

28th June 1916

Gas was again repeated at 10.30pm last night – Casualties nil.

29th June 1916

At 4am this morning the 7th and 6th Battalions Leicester Regiment did a raid.

30th June 1916

This morning at dawn we opened a heavy bombardment on enemy trenches around Gommecourt, La Brayelle etc. and at 9am a smoke cloud was sent over. Enemies retaliation was extremely weak. Tonight we are sending out a patrol of 1 Officer and 20 other ranks to raid the enemies trenches. They will be preceded by an intense T. Motor and Stokes guns bombardment.

1st July 1916

This morning at 7.30am we discharged smoke bombs and did everything we could to attract the enemies attention while the 46th and 56th Divisions on our right attacked Gommecourt. The enemy retaliated pretty heavily; we suffered only a few casualties.

Sadly, Joseph was one of the `few casualties` on the 1st July 1916.

In the absence of any service papers we do not know whether any of his personal effects were returned to his family in Preston.

Joseph was later buried in Bienvillers Military Cemetery, not far from where he perished. His family had the following words inscribed at the foot of his headstone;

     “Gone but not forgotten, from Father, Mother, Sisters and Brothers”

Bienvillers Military Cemetery, photo July 1916

After the war Joseph`s family would have received his British War and Victory Medals and also his Memorial Plaque and Scroll in recognition of his sacrifice.

Joseph`s name is also remembered on the Roll of Honour in the Harris Museum and Library in Preston; the original submission form also shown below.

Rank: Private
Service No: 22715
Date of Death: 01/07/1916
Age: 23
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 10th Bn.

Janet Davis
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