Photograph of Joseph from the 12th War Supplement of the Oldham Evening Chronicle, 16th September 1916. Held in Oldham Local Studies and Archives.
(L to R) 1914-15 Star; British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal
Joseph was born between January and March 1893 in Oldham, Lancashire. His father was called Peter Huddleston Tyson and his mother was Amy E. C. Tyson. We believe the C may have been short for Catherine. He was their oldest child and had 3 younger siblings; George Peter, Amy Edith and Marion. The family were Roman Catholics.
George's medals are also in the Museum of the Manchester Regiment collection.
George was born in Sheffield, Yorkshire in January 1895. The family seem to have settled back in Oldham by the time Amy was born in spring 1900. The next year the family lived at 51 Beechey Street in the town.
In this year Peter worked as a steward at a club, most likely a private gentleman's social club, rather than the modern meaning of an entertainment venue. He was also a 'well known sprinter' in Oldham's athletics circles. Joseph's brother George was a 'well known footballer'.
Peter died between April and June 1909, aged 43. By 1911 Amy and her children had moved a few doors to number 47. Joseph and George both worked to support their mother and sisters. They were both cotton mule piecers in one of Oldham's many cotton mills. We know Joseph worked for the Greenacres Spinning Company, but not where George worked.
The First World War broke out in August 1914, and Joseph joined the 10th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment in early September. This was a unit of the Territorial Force based in Oldham. George had enlisted at the beginning of the year. His service number was 1691. Joseph's was 2199.
The 10th Battalion was called into service and set sail for Egypt on the 10th September, arriving in Alexandria on the 25th. They trained in Egypt until the 6th May 1915 when they took part in the invasion of Gallipoli.
We don't know whether Joseph sailed with the battalion, although he had definitely joined them by the time they went to war in Gallipoli.
The renamed 1/10th Battalion fought in Gallipoli until the theatre was evacuated in December. Both brothers 'went right through the Gallipoli struggle without a scratch'.
The battalion then returned to Egypt where they took part in the defence of the Suez Canal against a Turkish attack. This involved long patrols of the Sinai Desert, and living in primitive conditions amongst the sand dunes.
By March 1916 Joseph was serving with D Company of the battalion. He was a Signaller, responsible for keeping the different units of the battalion in contact with each other, and for keeping the battalion in touch with higher headquarters. He will have been taught Morse code as part of this job.
On the morning of the 21st March 1916 Joseph was killed in an unfortunate accident. George wrote a letter to their mother explaining what had happened.
Joseph had 'done his turn of outpost duty and was sleeping in a kind of pit with a barricade of sandbags in front of it. About 5am on the 21st the sandbags gave way and fell on top of him, killing him instantly. He was buried the same night'. Joseph was 23 years old when he died.
Amy was living at 5 Harrison Street when George's letter reached her in mid April. She would later live at 16 and 45 Horsedge Street. She died in Oldham in mid 1929, aged 60.
George stayed with the 1/10th Battalion. He had reached the rank of Acting Sergeant by the end of the war in 1918. He returned to Oldham and lived there for the rest of his life. He was 90 when he died in November 1985.
Joseph was originally buried in Grave Number 5 in Shallufa Eastern Cemetery. This was what Amy was told in May 1917. After the end of the war his body was moved to Suez War Memorial Cemetery on the outskirts of Suez, where he now lies alongside 888 other men. His modern grave reference is B. 31.
George and Joseph's medals were donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment together in September 1994.