(L to R) 1914-14 Star; British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal
Joseph was born in Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester on the 17th January 1893. He was the second son of John and Alice Hanley and one of four siblings. In 1901 the family were living at 25 Clare Street in Chorlton and John was employed as a log frame sawyer. By 1911 the family had moved to Percival Street in Chorlton. Joseph was employed as a clerk in a linen warehouse and by 1914 was a lamplighter working for Manchester Corporation.
Joseph enlisted in the Army at Manchester Town Hall on the 2nd September 1914 at the age of 20. He joined ‘A’ Company of the 17th (Service) Battalion of the Manchester Regiment and given the service number 9026. Also known as the 2nd City Battalion, this was a ‘pals battalion’ of Manchester lads who enlisted, trained and fought together.
The men formed a camp at Heaton Park, prior to Brigade training at Belton Park, Grantham and final preparations for overseas service at Larkhill Camp on Salisbury Plain.
Joseph and the main body of the 17th Battalion disembarked at Boulogne on the 8th November 1915. The battalion was part of the 30th Division and they occupied the southern extreme line of the British advance on the opening day of the Battle of the Somme on the 1st July 1916. The men advanced at 8.30am and liberated the fortress village of Montauban by the early afternoon.
There was a number of casualties during this battle including Joseph who received a gunshot wound to the left leg. He was taken to 14 General Hospital Wimereux and then evacuated to England on board the hospital ship St Denis on the 10th July.
After treatment Joseph returned to duty with the 3rd Battalion at Cleethorpes on the 22nd September 1916. He was then posted to 2nd Garrison Lincolnshire Regiment on the 29th September. Joseph returned to 3rd Battalion on the 13th January 1917 and re-joined the British Expeditionary Force on the 14th June 1917.
He succumbed to trench foot whilst fighting with the 2nd Battalion at the Third Battle of Ypres, also known as the Battle of Passchendaele. After a period of treatment in France he returned to England again and was hospitalised at several hospitals in Kent.
He returned again to 3rd Battalion in Cleethorpes on the 20th August 1918 after treatment. However he was classified as unfit for front line duty.
He was posted for a period to the Labour Corps and then the Home Service Employment Service in Nottingham.
Joseph was demobilised at Catterick Garrison and transferred to the Reserve on the 26th February 1919. He then lived at 16 Percival Street, Chorlton-on-Medlock. He tried to claim for a disability pension due to his trench foot but this was unsuccessful.
In the summer of 1919 Joseph married Winifred Rowen. They had a son, Dennis, born in 1924 who sadly died in 1929. By this time Joseph had returned to his role as a lamplighter. By 1939 he was living at 29 Mawson Street in Chorlton. Joseph died on the 24th October 1951 aged 58. Winifred passed away in 1989 aged 92.
Joseph’s medals were donated to the museum collections in 2018.