BALMFORTH Joe

Joe BALMFORTH

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QUEENSBURY (HOLY TRINITY) CHURCHYARD
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QUEENSBURY (HOLY TRINITY) CHURCHYARD

Joe was a Private in the 2nd/4th Battalion. Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment). He enlisted in March 1916 and his trade at that time was as a stone mason, working for   J Briggs & Sons, Calder Bank, Queensbury.  His address was 5 Hill Top, Queensbury.

In 1901 Joe, aged 16, was living at Sandbeds with his mother Hannah, sister Sarah and brothers John and Herbert.  His father Thomas had died in 1900.  1911 saw Hannah, Joe and Herbert living at 67 Highfield Terrace, Queensbury.  His sister Sarah married Herbert Priestley in 1904 and was still living at Sandbeds.

Joe landed in France on the 9th January 1917.  He was wounded in action on 21st November 1917, at Cambrai, receiving a gunshot wound (GSW) to the back.  Passing through the casualty chain he arrived at Rouen on the 23rd November and was transferred back to England on the 24th.  He was then admitted to King George’s Hospital London on the 25th November 1917.  Details of Joes wounds show that he had an entry wound on his left shoulder and an exit wound in his back.  He had lost the use of his legs and looked ill and distressed.

Joe was discharged from the Army on 12th April 1918 as he was no longer physically fit for war service due to GSW back (paraplegic).  On his discharge documents his sister’s address of 14 Sandbeds, Queensbury is given as intended place of residence, Joe however remained at King George’s Hospital where he died on 29th December 1918, aged 34.

Throughout his time in hospital Joe was visited often, the Halifax Courier notes, “his face lit beautifully whenever anyone with interest in him arrived”.  One visitor was a Mr Fred Jowett who had been working in London for a number of months and he visited Joe once or twice a week.  As Joe’s condition worsened his relatives were summoned and his end was peaceful.

Joe is buried at the family grave in QUEENSBURY (HOLY TRINITY) CHURCHYARD.