Private Joseph Hudson. 1st 6th Battalion, Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment. Service number 1641.
Brother of 1461 Sgt William Hudson, killed in November 1916.
Joseph was born in 1891 (probably late February or early March) and his birth was registered at Pontefract. His parents were Walter and Hannah Hudson. In the April 1891 census he was recorded as just one month old and had three siblings who were Martha Ann (aged 5), Alfred (aged 4) and Eveline (Aged 2). The family were living at 13, Cleave Row, Tanshelf in Pontefract and their father Walter was a Drayman.
By 1901 Joseph was 10 and living with his parents and siblings at Spring Gardens Bakery in Sowerby Bridge. Father Walter was a Baker's Carter so it's likely their family home came with his job. The four older children now had a young brother William (aged 7).
By the time of the April 1911 census they had moved again, to Keighley. Joseph was 20 and still living with his parents, now at 7, Jay Street in Keighley. As an aside, Jay Street is named after the bird and it's in an area of Keighley still known today as 'The Birdcage' because in this small area, there are fourteen streets named after birds. Also living in the family home were his brothers Alfred and William. Walter was an iron broker on his own account and Joseph was a labourer for a wagon builder.
On 21st December 1911 aged 19 years and 6 months, Joseph enlisted at Keighley for four years service with the 6th Battalion Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment (Territorials). At this time he was employed as a warehouseman and living with his parents at 7, Jay Street. He passed his Army medical the next day which described him as 5 feet 2,1/2 inches tall, 34 inch chest and with fair physical development. His vision was rated as good.
As a territorial soldier Joseph attended two week annual camps at Flamborough from 28th July to 11th August 1912, at Aberystwyth from 27th July to 10th August 1913, finally at Marske from 26th July to 3rd August 1914, which was cut short, as they were brought home and embodied two days later at Keighley on the 5th August 1914 at the outbreak of war. Joseph had served for three years and 114 days before embodiment.
His Army service documents are slightly damaged in places so some information is damaged or missing altogether. According to his papers he signed for overseas service on '15th A' which we take to mean 15th August 1914 as the most likely date. This would have entitled him to wear the 'Imperial Service Badge' above the right breast pocket of his tunic.
Joseph embarked from Folkestone with the 1/6th Battalion West Riding Regiment on 13th April 1915 and they landed in Boulogne, France the next day.
He served with the regiment in the theatre of war for another 213 days until 12th November 1915, when he was killed in action at the age of 23.
1/6th Battalion Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment. War diary entry:
Divisional rest camps. A 9.b.
Very wet day. Battalion occupied in building huts, 3 officers and 100 men working party left camp 4.45 pm to work on front line, taken by motor lorries to TROIS TOUR returned to camp about 1 pm being brought back by motor lorries. [time error? - probably 11pm] Casualties:-
No. 1641 Pte. J. Hudson killed, rifle bullet in back at TALANA FARM 6 pm, while working with dug out construction party. Buried Sheet 28B.18.c.87. on 13th by 4th CL Chaplain G.W.O. JENKYN.
Keighley News 20th November 1915 page 5:
HIT BY A RIFLE BULLET.
Private Joseph Hudson, (24), of the 6th West Riding Regiment (Territorials), son of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Hudson, of 7, Jay Street, Keighley, was killed in action on Friday night last. "somewhere on the western front." A letter of condolence has been sent to the parents by Second Lieutenant P. F. Stuck, of the same regiment, in which he says: "I am sorry to have to inform you that your son was hit by a rifle bullet on Friday night last. He was wounded in the back, and died within a few minutes of being hit. All his friend have asked me to express their sympathy with you in your sad loss, and the officers join in this. Your son was a cheerful soldier and very well liked." Private Hudson before the outbreak of the war was employed by Messrs. Prince Smith & Son, Burlington Shed, Keighley.
Joseph was buried in what was to become Talana Farm Cemetery, in grave 5 of row F in plot VI. This cemetery is located about 4.5 kilometres North of the centre of Ypres.
He is remembered in Keighley's Great War roll of honour book which is on permanent public display at Keighley Library and he is also named in 'Keighley's Gallant Sons' a list of names of the men who volunteered early in the war, along with his younger brother William Hudson, who became a sergeant in the 1/6th Battalion West Riding and who was also very sadly killed in action on the 20th November 1916, just over a year after Joseph's death.
After the war, Joseph's mother Hannah received his medals which were the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. She also received his Great War memorial plaque and scroll. Their father Walter had also died by this time, on December 1918.
The family inscription on his Commonwealth War Graves headstone (from his mother) reads: 'His memory is as dear today as in the hour he passed away.'
Hannah received a pension of 15 shillings per week after the war.
Birth, marriage and death records.
1891, 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