Joseph was my great-uncle and he provided a vital clue in validating a story I hadn’t believed. I had been told by my father, just before he died at 95, that my g.grandfather, a Coalminer from County Durham, had taken his family to Alabama to work in the mines there, but returned after a few years. Since nobody had mentioned this before I found it hard to believe. It was before all the censuses were available and eventually I found Joseph, whose existence I had never heard of, in the CWGC files with the birthplace of Alabama. Eventually Censuses, Passenger Records and a baptism proved he was my relative and it was all true.
Joseph was also a Miner, had wed in 1910 and they had one son, also named Joseph. They lived in Sunderland. Joseph was enlisted in the Tyneside Irish despite being from neither Ireland nor Tyneside, because it seems that a number of battalions were formed hoping they might attract recruits from specific areas. When they found there were insufficient volunteers they made up the numbers from other recruits. Joseph died near Arras with no known grave. His wife remarried 9 months later and their son Joseph died at the age of 13 from TB. Knowing that it is almost certain that nobody related had ever visited the memorial at Arras I went there in 2004 and laid a wreath under his name.