Officers, N.C.O.s & Men of the 1st Battalion, Commemorated in the United Kingdom Book of Remembrance
The United Kingdom Book of Remembrance commemorates United Kingdom casualties of the two World Wars who were not formerly recorded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The men and women remembered are presently commemorated solely by their database and register entry, although the CWGC continues to investigate the grave location details.
The Book of Remembrance currently contains 434 entries and is maintained at C.W.G.C. Head Office, Maidenhead. (Viewing by appointment only).
The Register currently contains 5 soldiers of the Cheshire Regiment, only one of whom served with the Original 1st Battalion:
Grave: not found Died: 15 September 1916 Age: 29
Personal: According to his Service Papers John was born in Waterford, Ireland, in (about) February 1885. The 1891 Census (RG 12/1319) suggests he was born in 1897/8. He was the son of Richard (Ship Merchant) and Mary Joy, and by 1891 the family had moved to London, living at 40 Sydney Street, West Ham. In 1901 (Census RG 13/1580) the family were living at 39 Wightman Street, West Ham, London.
John had an elder brother, Patrick (see Footnote below), and three younger brothers, Edward, James and Michael, and four younger sisters, Johanna, Mary, Kate and Bridget (1911 Census RG 14/9484). John was with his Battalion, in India, in 1911 but his mother and younger siblings were living at 91 Adamson Road, Custom House, West Ham, London.
At the time of his enlistment, aged 19 years, in 1904, John stood 5 ft. 4½ ins. [1.65 m.] tall, weighed 8 st. 7 lbs. [54 kgs.] and had a ‘fresh’ complexion, grey eyes and dark brown hair. (After just 6 months service he had gained 1 st. 4 lbs. [8.16 kgs.].)
On 5th July 1914 John married Jane Partridge at the Parish Church of St Alban the Martyr, Birmingham, and their son, Harold, was born on 3rd October 1914, by which time John was a prisoner of war in Germany.
When John returned in from a period in captivity as a prisoner of war on 6th October 1915, he returned home and was discharged as “no longer physically fit for War Service” on 19 December 1915.
On his discharge John was awarded a Pension of £1 5s [£1.25] per week (i.e. equivalent to about £85 per week today – 2020.) This continued after he was admitted to Hospital in Waterford – see below.
He was, however, seriously ill and spent the last months of his life in Waterford (Ireland) Lunatic Asylum, until his death on 15th September 1916.
“The Register of Soldiers’ Effects” shows that his total remaining was £28 17s 9d [£28.89 – equivalent to about £2000 today – 2020]. £4 was paid to Mr John Kelly, Undertaker, and £15 12s [£15.60} divided between his mother, Mary, and his wife, Jane. It is not clear from the record where the remaining £9 5s 9d [£9.29] ended up (i.e. ‘Transfer no. 2255‘).
In June 1919 a War Gratuity of £7 10s [£7.50 – about £350 today] was paid, and it too was divided equally between John’s wife and mother. Pension Records show that, strangely, his file was destroyed on 23rd May 1924.
Before her marriage to John, Jane, one of six (of 12) surviving children of William and Mary Jane Partridge, and had lived with them at House 3, Court 12, Bishop Street, Birmingham. She worked as a “Brass Polisher“, like her father. She remained, or returned, to Birmingham and the 1939 Register shows her living at 67 Salop Street, working as a “Nickel Finisher“. She had not re-married and died in 1968.
Military Service: John’s Service Papers shows that he enlisted in the Cheshire Regiment in Stratford on 6th April 1904. He was at the time serving in the 3rd Battalion, East Surrey Regiment.
Whilst based in Jubbulpore John was hospitalised on a number of occasions, the longest, for over 3 months in 1908, was for venereal disease. The year before, in Madras, he had spent 25 days in Hospital suffering from “Ringworm“. Later in 1908 he spent 30 days in Hospital suffering from “Inflammation of the Glands“. In 1911/12 he was hospitalised on 7 occasions suffering from “Malaria” and “Heatstroke“.
His Medal Index Card shows that as a Reservist he was recalled to the Regiment at the outbreak of War and entered France on 16th August 1914. He was reported missing from the Battalion following the action at Audregnies on 24th August, where he fought in the centre of the line, under Captain Dugmore.
John was held as a Prisoner of War for 1 year 44 days until a POW exchange on 6th October 1915. ICRC Records show him at Limburg p-o-w camp on 27th July 1915, about to be transferred to Celle.
He returned home and was discharged as “no longer physically fit for War Service” on 19 December 1915. In total he had served 11 years 258 days with the Colours. On his discharge John was awarded a Pension of £1 5s [£1.25] per week (i.e. equivalent to about £85 per week today – 2020.)
The reasons for John’s discharge was described in his Service Papers and it seems the illnesses and diseases that plagued him in India had returned:
“General Paralysis: Date and place of origin unknown. States that he wounded and taken prisoner in Aug. 1914 and has been exchanged. Feeble minded – rambling, memory defective, signs of general paralysis. Causation probably syphilis.
Medical Board (1-12-1915):- Aggravated by active service, stress of campaign – Permanent. Due to service since declaration of War.
Note: Although this man has had syphilis he also suffered from heatstroke and a good deal of malaria. Moreover, conditions under which he lived as a prisoner in Germany were all against him, i.e. if this fact is correct.”
The next page of John’s Record, dated 27th July 1916, goes on …
“Letter from Lord Beresford, d/20-7-16 applying for continuation man’s pension to be paid to Mrs. Joy as her husband is in the Waterford Lunatic Asylum. The authorities are no making any charge for his maintenance.”
Three months after Lord Beresford‘s request, John died, on 15th September 1916, presumably in the Waterford Lunatic Asylum. His place of burial is not known.
It was not until March 2021 that the CWGC acknowledged that John was eligible for entry into the War Graves Register. He HAS a grave, but its location is unknown – although likely to be in Waterford and as such is unlikely to receive an ‘official’ CWGC gravestone.
John’s older brother, Pte. 6563 Patrick Joy, served with the Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) Regiment, having enlisted on 5th December 1900. He was discharged at the end of his engagement on 25 Febry 1913.