Joseph Franklin | Profile

Regiment Rank Service No Place of Birth Date of Death Age Burial
1st South Staffs Lance Corporal 8428 Sedgley 7 Nov 1914 28 Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium

Genealogical Data

Birth of Joseph John Franklin registered December quarter 1886 at Dudley.

1901 Census
3 Wren Street, Woodsetton, Staffordshire.
Daniel Franklin (47, Furnaceman, born Forest of Dean, Gloucester), his wife Lucy Hannah (45, born Sedgley), and their 8 children: Hannah J. (18, Tailoress, born Sedgley), Reuben (16, Bricklayer’s Labourer, born Sedgley), Joseph J. (14, Moulder, born Sedgley), James H. (12, born Sedgley), Harriet A. (10, born Sedgley), Rachel (8, born Sedgley), William (6, born Sedgley), and Alice M. (2, born Sedgley).

1911 Census
1st Bn South Staffs, South Barracks, Gibraltar.
Joseph Franklin, Private, 24, Single, born Gornal.

Personal Life

It would appear that Harry Bullock, Andrew Ellis, and Joseph Franklin were pals in Woodsetton. They all joined the 1st Battalion, South Staffords, at the same time in either 1908 or 1909 and had consecutive numbers 8427, 8429, and 8428 respectively.

In 1901 Bullock lived at 48 Regent Street, Ellis at 49 Regent Street, and Franklin on the opposite side of Sedgley Road West, at 3 Wren Street. Bullock and Franklin were the same age and so possibly school mates, and Bullock and Ellis were next-door neighbours. In 1911 all three were serving with the 1st Battalion, South Staffords, and were stationed in the South Barracks, Gibraltar.

All 3 landed in Zeebruge on 4th October 1914, and would have seen ferocious action in the First Battle of Ypres. Within 5 weeks, Ellis and Franklin were dead, and Bullock was a prisoner of war and would die 2 years later.

Joseph’s will must have left part of his estate to this siblings, however all of them asked for their share to be paid to their mother. Joseph’s arrears of army pay was therefore distributed to his mother Hannah in 1915, this was a total of £9/13/6d (9 pounds 13 shillings and 6 pence), followed by a War Gratuity payment of £5/0/0d paid in 1919.

Cause of Death

Joseph landed in Zeebrugge with the initial landing of the 1st South Staffs on 4th October 1914. In 1911 he had been a regular soldier in the 1st South Staffs, stationed in Gibraltar; it is likely that he was still a regular soldier at the outbreak of war.

The 1st South Staffs arrived in Ypres on the 14th October 1914, and were in the thick of the first Battle of Ypres in which the British Expeditionary Force suffered 50,000 casualties. Between the 19th to 21st October they fought on the Broodseinde Ridge, a successful delaying action which inflicted heavy casualties on the Germans. They were then involved in the Battle of Langemarck between the 21st to 24th October, and by 26th October in action near Zantvoorde.

The 1st South Staffords War Diary stops on 26th October 1914 as officer casualties had been so heavy. The remnants of the 1st South Staffords and 2nd Royal Welsh were temporarily merged on 31 October to create a composite battalion under Capt Vallentin. The 1st South Staffords were withdrawn just days before the end of the 1st Battle of Ypres. When it had landed in Belgium just a few weeks before it had been a force of 1,100 officers and men, now only 78 remained. Almost every officer had either been killed or wounded, and only one N.C.O., Company Sergeant Major F. Bytheway, was left to bring the men out of action.

Like so many of the 1st South Staffs men killed at Ypres in 1914, Joseph Franklin has no known grave. He is commemorated on the Menin Gate, in Ypres.