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Joseph was born in Dewsbury and lived there until at least the age of six. Harry Crawshaw had married Mary Ann Allerton in the town sometime between April and June 1890 and Joseph was born in the late summer of 1894. He had a younger brother, Albert, who was born in about 1897.

It’s not known when the family moved to Stockport or where they lived. Nor is it known how Joseph earned his living. It is known that, at the time of the War, he was married to Amy Clayton.

Joseph joined the army fairly soon after war was declared and his original service number was 9809. The above number was allocated at the beginning of 1917 when all soldiers serving with Territorial battalions were issued new six-digit numbers. In the late summer of 1915, probably before he went overseas on active service, he married Amy.

His brother Albert Crawshaw also served in the army, being conscripted into the Cheshire Regiment in late 1916/early 1917. He was quite quickly transferred to the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. In the late summer of 1917, news will have come to the family and to Joseph in France, that Albert had been killed in action on 16 August. He is also commemorated on the Stockport War Memorial.

On 8 August 1918, Allied troops launched the offensive that would end the war three months later. For the British troops, there would still be many days of hard fighting and many thousands of casualties, but there would be no more defeats. The battle in which Joseph was killed would later be designated as the Battle of Canal du Nord and, on 27 September, the North Lancashires crossed the canal at noon. They took up assembly positions east of the village of Graincourt-les-Havrincourt (approximately 7 kilometres south west of the French town on Cambrai).

The next day, the battalion advanced in support of the 2/5th Battalion, King’s Own Royal Lancasters, with the objective of capturing Marcoine Trench. The Regimental History records that the attack was made in a series of short rushes as they came under enemy machine gun fire from the village of Marcoing and, also, a nearby wood. The Battalion could not make its way through the barbed wire entanglements in front of the enemy trench and was soon ordered to withdraw. Joseph was one of 18 men to be killed in the attack.

In the early 1920s, when the War Graves Commission was collating its casualty information, Amy had remarried and was then Amy Connors. She was living at 40 Sandown Road, Cheadle Heath.

Rank: Private
Number: 244701
Unit: 2/4th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment
Date of Death: 28 September 1918
Age: 24
Cemetery: Anneux British Cemetery, Nord, France

This article has been reproduced with kind permission from the Stockport 1914-18 website.

Paul McCormick
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