Information contributed by Henry and Jean Pelham (courtesy of Brian Gudgeon)
Joseph was born in 1891, the eldest son and second (out of seven) child of Joseph and Harriet Louisa Morley. The family lived in Hollis Row, Earlswood, before moving to The Bungalow, Mason’s Bridge Road Earlswood. His father had built the bungalow in the early 1900s, was a Chimney Sweep in the early 1900s, and was a chimney sweep by trade.
Joseph had enlisted in the latter part of 1915 and sent to France early in 1916. He was wounded and sent to England to recover in Red Cross hospital, at Sittingbourne. It was from here he sent a letter to his sister Jessie saying that zeppelins were over Sheerness! He said he was peeling potatoes and getting about generally, though his legs ached, and wouldn’t mind staying there for the duration!
He rejoined the 7th Battalion, the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment on 2 August 1916 and returned to France the following day. He was posted missing, presumed killed in action, on 28 September 1916, just six weeks from when he returned to France.
The Regiment to War diaries reveal that, on 27 September, the battalion was attached to the 53rd Infantry Brigade for operations:
orders were received and issued for the attack on Schwaben Redoubt and all preparations for same made.
28 September-battalion attacked at 1pm, gaining and holding southern side.
29 September-battalion holding ground gained with continuous fighting at close quarters. At night, battalion was relieved by eighth Battalion, East Surrey Regiment, and proceeded to North Bluff, near Authuille. Casualties to fighting of 28 and 29 September one officer killed and 10 wounded; other ranks killed 44, missing believed killed one, wounded 251, wounded and missing one, missing 87. Total 384. His body was never found and his name is on the Thiepval Memorial.