JOSEPH FIELDHOUSE

Lance Corporal 14564, Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment)

Died 19th March 1916 aged 31

Buried Lapugnoy Military Cemetery, France

Husband of Eva Fieldhouse

Lived 53, High Street, Heckmondwike


Samuel Fieldhouse came from Louth in Lincolnshire, his wife Sarah was from Kendal in Westmorland.  In 1891 they were living in Upper George Street Heckmondwike with their 7 daughters and 2 sons, aged between 19 and less than 1 year old.  Joseph, or Joe, was born in 1885.  By 1901 the family, with 7 children still at home, were living at 11 King Street Heckmondwike.  The entire family, including the youngest, Charlie, worked in the textile trade. 

Joe married Eva Stanley in 1909 after the banns had been read in July at St Saviour’s Church, Ravensthorpe.  Eva’s parents were both from Keswick.  A daughter, Lily, was born in 1910 and by 1911 the family were at 11 Carr Street Heckmondwike.  A son Jack was born in 1912 and a daughter Ella in 1914.  Joseph was employed in the coal yard of the Heckmondwike and District Co-op.
 
In November 1914 Joe, now at 21 Carr Street, joined 10th Battalion the Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment).  He was promoted to Lance Corporal in August 1915.  On 26 August 1915 the Battalion landed at Le Havre.  Spells in the front line alternated with periods in reserve, but on 3 March 1916 the Battalion returned to the front line to the north of Arras.

The Battalion’s War Diary entry for Wednesday 8 March 1916 reads -
‘Snow on the ground.  Clear cold day.  Enemy shelled our front line continuously throughout the day with heavy minenwerfen and aerial torpedoes.  The trenches are in a very bad condition, in fact the front line can scarcely be called trenches since they consist of shell craters joined by shallow ditches’.

On Thursday 9 March 1916 the Diary continues –
‘More snow. During the day enemy continually bombarded us with trench mortars, aerial torpedoes and shells of every calibre.  The centre section of the trenches manned by 54 men and one officer of C Company suffered considerably, one killed and 18 wounded’.  It was on this day that Joe was severely wounded in the head and body by shellfire.  Private Fieldhouse was evacuated from the front and taken to the 18th Casualty Clearing Station (CSS) at Lapugnoy near Béthune.

Mrs Fieldhouse received two letters from the Reverend W Whitehead, an army chaplain at the CCS.  The last letter was dated Thursday 16 March 1916 and described how despite the best efforts of doctors and nurses Joseph Fieldhouse had died that morning, (though official records show date of death as 19 March).  He had been buried that afternoon in the military cemetery near the hospital.  Sister Jean N Murray also wrote, telling Mrs Fieldhouse that her husband had been ‘such a good patient and gave himself every chance and was very keen to get home to you’.
 
In his Service Pay Book Will he left all his belongings to his wife.  On 5 June 1916 Mrs Fieldhouse was sent £3 13s in outstanding pay and allowances and on 7 September 1919 received a War Grant of £5 10s.  By 1920 Mrs Fieldhouse was living at 53 High Street Heckmondwike.  Around that time Mrs Fieldhouse arranged for the words ‘Loved by many, missed by one’ to be included on her husband’s headstone at Lapugnoy.  There was a charge of 6s 5d for those 22 letters.
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