(L to R) Distinguished Conduct Medal; British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal
Joshua was born between January and March 1898 in Standish, near Wigan in Lancashire. His father was called James and his mother was Alice. He had 3 older siblings: Richard, Clara and Maggie, and 2 younger: Elizabeth and Alice.
James worked as a coal miner. In 1901 the family lived at 5 Sedlow Cottages in Standish. Ten years later they had moved to 5 Gilbourn House in the town. John now worked with explosives as a chargeman in the mine and Joshua had begun to work as a haulage hand, pulling carts full of coal through the mineshafts.
The First World War broke out in August 1914 and Joshua enlisted in the Army on the 27th November 1915. He joined the 5th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. This was his local Territorial Force unit; they were based in Wigan. The original 5th Battalion (the 1/5th) was in Gallipoli when he enlisted, so Joshua will have trained with the 2/5th or the 3/5th Battalion. When he enlisted Joshua was 5 feet 3 inches tall. He had a 'fresh' complexion, grey eyes and dark brown hair.
We don't know when Joshua was sent overseas, but it was after March 1917. At this time soldiers serving in Territorial Force units were given new service numbers. Joshua's was 201600.
The 1/5th and 2/5th Battalions both arrived on the Western Front at around this time, and unfortunately we don't know which Joshua served with. During autumn 1917 both battalions took part in the Passchendaele Offensive around Ypres in Belgium, and took heavy casualties.
The 2/5th Battalion was disbanded after taking even heavier casualties during the German Spring Offensive of March and April 1918. The remaining soldiers joined the 1/5th Battalion. They took part in the Allied advance that began on the 8th August.
By September Joshua had been promoted to Lance Corporal. On the 2nd he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for an act of great bravery during The Second Battle of Bapaume. His award was published in the London Gazette on the 5th December 1918 with an edited version of this citation:
On 2nd September 1918 at Villers-au-Flos, after his platoon commander had become a casualty he led his men with great dash and initiative. On one occasion this Non Commissioned Officer tackled an enemy machine gun crew single handed, killing the gunner and putting the rest to flight, even chasing them into our own barrage.
At some point after this Joshua was promoted to Corporal. He was also shot in the abdomen and evacuated back to the UK. By January 1919 it was clear that he would not be fit enough to return to the front, so he was discharged as 'no longer physically fit for war service' on the 28th. Joshua was given a Silver War Badge, with serial number B93834, to show that his discharge was honourable.
After the war Joshua returned to Wigan. He married Ellen Hardacre between April and June 1922. They had at least one child, Alice M., during the same period. We don't know what jobs he had as a civilian.
Towards the end of his life Joshua and Ellen lived at 5 Bramble Grove in Pemberton, near Wigan. He died on the 19th January 1949 at the age of 50. Ellen died aged 90 in October 1992.
Joshua's medals were donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment on the 31st March 1993, at the same time as those of another DCM winner from Wigan, Joseph Stridgeon.