Lance Corporal Joseph William Tatton, 'D' Company, 1st/6th Bn., Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment) Service no: 1907.
Joseph William Tatton was born in 1894 and his birth was registered in Keighley in the third quarter of that year. He was the third son of John William and Elizabeth Jane Tatton. His Father was a plumber.
By the time of the 1901 census he was six and living at 13, Belle Vue Terrace, off Parkwood Road in Keighley with his parents, elder brothers Thomas Albert and John Edgar.
Joseph was baptised in 1908 at St Barnabas Church, Eastwood, Keighley.
Joseph was 16 years old in the 1911 census and was still living at the family home in 13, Belle Vue Terrace, Keighley, with his parents. By now he was working as a turner, making textile machinery.
On the 17th March, 1913 at the age of 18 years and 9 months, he attested for the Territorial Force with the 6th Battalion, Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment with the service number 1907.
His home address is given as 13, Feather Street, Keighley, but this is confusing as it is the same address as Belle Vue Terrace.
(The front side of the terraced row of houses has a sign saying 'Belle Vue Terrace' and the rear side says 'Feather Street')
He was still working as an iron turner and his employer was stated as Prince Smith and Son and he probably worked at the Burlington Shed. His height was given as 5 foot 3, 1/2 inches and his chest measured 34 inches plus 2 inches expansion. He had good vision and physical development.
Between May and August 1914 there was a protracted engineer's strike in Keighley over pay and it is very likely that Joseph would have been one of the men on strike at this time as Prince Smith was one of the main employers involved in the strikes. There was a considerable amount of trouble between strikers and their employers and those who worked despite the strike. This led to a lot of window breaking, 'following' of workers to their homes and intimidation, creating a lot of bad feeling in the town. Several men's names appeared in the newspapers as troublemakers, but Joseph was not one of them.
He attended Army training camp at Marske from 27th June to 3rd August and on the outbreak of war he was embodied on the 5th August. He signed up for overseas service with his pal Charles Lowndes on the 15th September 1914, which would have entitled them to wear the Imperial Service Badge.
The group photograph of 15 men shows Charles Lowndes standing 3rd from left on the back row and Joseph William (Willie) Tatton is 5th from left on the back row and Isaiah Sanders is lying down at front left:
Joseph embarked on 14th April 1915 (on S.S. Onward) at Folkestone with the 1st/6th Battalion West Riding Regiment, arriving at Boulogne a few hours later.
On the 23rd December he sustained a cut to the hand whilst carrying Royal Engineer's Stores in the Windsor Castle Line. The cut became infected and required extensive treatment through the casualty evacuation chain, which is why the Army took it seriously enough to hold an enquiry, but this was found to be an accident and that he was not to blame for his injury. His service record contains the witness statements of two of his comrades:
3181 Pte V. Proctor states:
"I was with the ration carrying party on the night of the 23rd Dec 1915, on the Windsor Castle line & one of the trucks became disabled - so we emptied the truck & put the R.E. stores into an empty truck coming in the opposite direction. Pte J. W. Tatton caught his arm on the wire of a revettment frame while carrying the revettment frame from one truck to the other & I heard Pte Tatton remark that he had caught his arm. Victor Proctor, Pte.
2138 Pte Lonsdale W. states:
On the night of Dec 23rd 1915 I was with a party detailed to carry R.E. Stores down to the Canal Bank by the Windsor Line: While carrying a revettment frame from one truck to another truck Pte Tatton caught his arm on the wire of the frame & remarked that he had cut his hand." William Lonsdale, Pte.
Joseph's injury went septic and developed into I.C.T. (Inflammation of Connective Tissue). He was treated for about three weeks, going from the Field Ambulance to number 17 Casualty Clearing Station and then to General Hospitals at Wimereous, Handelot and Boulogne. He did recover though, and returned to his unit at Havre on 12th January 1916.
On 2nd April he was admitted to the 1/2 West Riding Field Ambulance again, this time with Scabies but he rejoined his unit on 16th April.
Joseph was appointed as a Lance Corporal (paid) on 10th September 1916.
He had been at this rank for two months before he was killed in action on 20th October 1916 by a German trench mortar explosion, along with his best pal Lance Corporal Charles Lowndes, of 9, Bellevue Terrace, Parkwood, Keighley.
Two other local men died the same way, in the same trench on the same day. They were Corporal Tom Allsopp and Lance Corporal Arthur Heaton Scott. All four men are buried in adjoining graves 12 to 15 (inclusive) of row H, plot 1 in Foncquevillers Military Cemetery. L/Cpl Tatton is buried in grave number 15. He was 22 years old and had served for 3 years and 249 days. All four men had embarked to France together on 14th April 1915.
Keighley News 2nd December 1916, page 3:
TWO 'PALS' KILLED
During the past week news has been received that two more Parkwood boys have made the supreme sacrifice.
Their names are Lance-Corporal Lowndes and Lance-Corporal Tatton, both attached to the West Riding Regiment, and their parents respectively at 9 and 13, Belle Vue Terrace, Keighley. It is a pathetic coincidence that they met their death instantaneously by the explosion of a trench mortar on November 20. Both young men had been comrades since boyhood, and joined the Territorials, going out to the front together in April, 1915. In the bitter defence of Ypres, fighting before overwhelming odds, they were to be found together, and during the summer they were both on leave at home, and only a few weeks ago they were promoted to non-commissioned rank. Both young fellows were of a pleasant disposition and highly esteemed.
In letter to the parents of Lowndes, Lieutenant Godfrey Buxton said that “he was an efficient and courageous soldier,” and writing of Tatton, the officer said: “He showed very great promise, and was already for any job that required doing.” A brother of Lance-Corporal Lowndes – Corporal Sam Lowndes, attached to the Bradford 'Pals' was killed in action on July 1 – the first day of the 'big push.'
Both the deceased men were members of St Paul's Church, Parkwood, and this makes a total of four young men belonging to the church who have been killed since the beginning of July. Out of one street in Parkwood as many as nine men have been killed during the war.
Keighley News 2nd December 1916, page 4:
There is a pathetic coincidence about the fate of two Keighley soldiers who met their death instantly in France by the bursting of an explosive. Both young men were in the prime of manhood, and in their boyhood days there commenced a bond of friendship which existed up to the time of their death. Practically all their lives they had been associated, and, feeling the spirit of patriotism, they joined the local Territorials together. After completing their training they went out to the front, and since then they had been constantly side by side in the bitter struggles and the arduous duties of trench life. Further still, both young fellows spent their last leave at home together, and both of them early in the summer received promotion as non-commissioned officers. They hailed from a thickly-populated quarter of the town where the calls of the war are to be noticed in many households: in fact out of the street in which their parents reside nine men have fallen during the war, and the little church with which they were identified, out of an average weekly congregation of fifty, has on it's roll of honour forty-seven names of past and present members who joined the Army by voluntary enlistment. Out of these, however, it is sad to record, seven have made the supreme sacrifice.
The shock to their home street must have been unthinkable. Everyone would have known these two young men as communitites were very close. Charlie's older brother Sam had been killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme on 1st July 1916. The local St Paul's Church would have been packed for a service in their honour.
Keighley News 2nd December 1916, page 10:
TATTON. - Lance Corporal Joseph William (Willie) Tatton, who was killed in action on November 20th, 1916, aged 22 years, of 13, Belle Vue Terrace, Keighley; also his comrade Lance Corporal Charlie Lowndes, who was killed in action on November 20th, 1916, aged 21 years, of 9, Belle Vue Terrace, Keighley.
Where alone in our sorrow and bitter tears flow,
There stealeth dreams of a dear long ago;
And unknown to the world they stand by our side,
And whispher these words - "Death cannot divide."
War Diary for 1st/6th Battalion, Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment):
TRENCHES NOVEMBER 1916.
Early in the morning one of our patrols was bombed & 3 men wounded. LINCOLN LANE was T.M. about 8 am.
A much better day, the sun been shining at times.
TRENCHES NOVEMBER 1916.
The 5th WRRgt raided the enemy's trenches on our right, zero hour 8 P.M. A number of Germans were killed, only 2 of the raiding party (5 Off & 95 O.R.) were killed. 3 men went out from our left Coy & sent up German SOS rockets from a German advanced sap & this drew most of the retaliation onto our Bn., the centre coy in ##### being heavily bombarded by minnies(sic)
One of our patrols rear LA BRAVELLE (sic) Rd were bombed & 3 men hit.
# 1461 Sgt Hudson W. A coy killed by shell Buried by Capt Jones in Fonquevillers(sic) Cem.
5291 Pte Calvert B. A coy Wounded by shell
5631 Pte Armitage W. R. A Coy " " "
5709 Pte Haigh W. A Coy " " "
5630 Pte Vantry(sic) H. A Coy " " "
1855 Cpl Swindon H. B Coy Wounded by bomb
3057 Pt Smith F B Coy " " "
3997 Pte Glenton G. B Coy " " "
#2595 Cpl Allsopp T. D Coy Killed by T.M. (trench mortar) Buried by Capt Jones in FONQUEVILLERS CEMETRY(sic)
#2026 L Cpl Scott A. H. D Coy " " "
#2139 L Cpl Lowndes C. D Coy " " "
#1907 L Cpl Tatton J W D Coy " " "
1953 Pte Gee F. D Coy Wounded in jaw by sniper.
#Sutton man# 1759 Pte Shackleton C. D Coy wounded in forearm by shrapnel.
Keighley News 9th December 1916:
A very impressive service was held at St. Paul's Church, Parkwood, on Sunday evening last in memory of Lance-Corporals W. Tatton and Charlie Lowndes, two members of the church, who were bosom friends, and who fell together on the field of battle in France. The Rev. G. H. Binns. M.A. (curate of this parish), conducted the service and based his sermon on "Friendship," and compared the two friends to David and Jaonathan, and he also quoted from the 2nd book of Samuel, recording the death of Saul and Jonathan - "They were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided." The two friends had grown from childhood to manhood together, and they had died together for their country. Mr. C. E. Bottomley, who had been the boys' teacher in the Bible class, also paid a high tribute to the dead soldiers. The church was crowded, and in the congregation was Lieutenant Lupton, who had been out in France with Lowndes and Tatton. Mrs Waterhouse sang "O rest in the Lord," and the organist played the Dead March in "Saul."
Joseph's parents received his Memorial Plaque and scroll in 1919, followed a couple of years later by his 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
He is listed in 'Keighley's Gallant Sons', a roll of volunteers who enlisted in the early part of the war.
He is remembered in Keighley's Great War Roll of Honour Book, in Keighley Library, and on St Paul's Church WW1 Memorial Tablet, displayed on a wall at St Andrew's Church, (Keighley Shared Church).
Birth, marriage and death records.
1901 and 1911 census.
WWI Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920.
Army service records.
Keighley News archives, Keighley Library.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
National Archives war diary for 1/6th Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment. WO95-2801
The studio photograph of Joseph William Tatton appears by kind courtesy of Vicky Hodgson.