Cemeteries and graveyards, full of love, betrayal, tragic deaths, murder, and suicide. What will you find?

Friday 15 November 2013

Flashback Friday - War Grave - Joseph Henry Edwards

**For the month of November in honour of Armistice Day we will be revisiting the local war graves I have researched.  This post was originally published 3rd October 2012.**

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them".

Researching the life of J.H Edwards was certainly difficult and frustrating.  At first all I had to go on was a surname, some initials and a date of death.  But I managed to find the man behind those sketchy details.

Joseph Henry Edwards was born in Cox Green, Maidenhead Berkshire in 1889 to Thomas Edwards, gardener, and Sarah Ann Hollins.  In the early 1900s Joseph became a baker, however he was soon in trouble with the law.  In 1910 Joseph was charged and convicted of being drunk and disorderly and assaulting a police officer.  He was sentenced to serve a short term at Reading Prison, where he can be found on the 1911 census.  Seems Joseph did not learn his lesson, in 1912 he was again charged with being drunk and disorderly.  The Chronicle reported,

"Too Many Drinks
At Maidenhead Police Court on Wednesday, before Mr.T G Wyatt and Mr. C A Vardy, a baker named Joseph Henry Edwards, of Courthouse Lane, [now Courthouse Road] was charged with being drunk in incapable in Boyne Hill Avenue, Maidenhead, in the early hours of that morning.  He was found by P.C. Gunter at 1.15 lying in the road, helplessly drunk.  The constable picked him up and brought him to the police station.
Prisoner told the Bench that he supposed he must have had one or two drinks too many.  There was a previous conviction against him in 1910 for being drunk and disorderly and assaulting the police.  A fine of 2s 6d and costs or 7 days hard labour was imposed. Defendant said he had no money and was removed in custody."

On 31st August 1914 Joseph signed up to serve in the Royal Berkshire Regiment.  Unfortunately Joseph's questionable behaviour continues throughout his service with the Royal Berks.  On 20th July 1915 Joseph was sentenced to, '14 days detainment for breaking out of the billet' (soldiers sleeping quarters).  Then on 15th November 1915 Joseph was found to be, 'Absent from the Corps Parade when proceeding to the trenches'.  Joseph was Court Martialled on 3rd December 1915 and given a 9 month suspended sentence, to be reviewed on 28th May 1916.

Joseph returned to active duty, however from the 25th August - 14th September 1916 he spent time at Bellahouston Military Hospital in Glasgow Scotland with Valvular Disease of the Heart.  Joseph was then discharged from the army as no longer being physically fit for service on 27th October 1916, he was awarded a pension of 10s.

It wasn't long before Joseph was serving his country again.  Three months after being discharged due to heart disease, Joseph re-enlisted on 3rd January 1917 with the Royal Engineers in Reading Berkshire.  Later that month on 16th Joseph married Lydia Kate Palmer.  Joseph's war service records indicate that on 27th August 1917 he was again sentenced to 56 days, which was later mitigated to 28 days, unfortunately the records are unclear as to why.  However, Joseph was again discharged due to no longer being physically fit for war service on 28th August 1918  He was awarded a pension of 11s for 13 weeks.

On 1st February 1919 Joseph wrote a letter enquiring as to whether he was entitled to the King's Certificate for his time serving in the Royal Engineers.

Joseph died on 10th February 1921, he left behind his widow Lydia and their three children, Kathleen Ellen, Frederick John and Joan Cecily.  Joan was born after her father's death on 21st April 1921.

Joseph certainly was a character who seemed to have lead a rather eventful life.  I have really enjoyed my glance into his life.

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