Herbert Lawrence JOY
Rank: Private
Number: 39121
Date of Death: 9 October 1918
Age: 38
Cemetery: Roisel Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, France

Almost nothing is known for certain about Herbert's life. His birth was registered at Chorlton in 1880 and army records published after the War show he enlisted in Manchester. His connection with the immediate local area is unknown as is the reason for commemoration on both the Heaton Moor and Stockport War Memorials.

Although it is impossible to be sure, an examination of the 1901 Census suggests he was the 20 year old then living at 17 Osborne Road, Levenshulme. He was working as a manufacturer's clerk. His father, Frederick, was a Superintendent with the Post Office. Again, impossible to be sure, but a Frederick Joy is listed in the 1914 edition of Kelly's Directory, living at 357 Manchester Road, Heaton Chapel and this may be the link to a local connection.

Herbert's service number suggests he may have been in the army from around 1915 and would die just over a month before the War ended. He died of wounds received in action at one of the field hospitals then based at Roisel. It is not known when he was injured but it will have been within the day of so prior to his death.

After years of trench warfare, this period was characterised by the armies on both sides being on the almost constant move, with the Germans retreating but only giving ground at a high cost of casualties on both sides. On the morning of the 5 October, the Gloucesters marched four miles to get into position. They were occasionally shelled by the Germans and, whilst passing the village of Grandcourt, they suffered five casualties.

By mid-afternoon, they were deploying to support an attack by the Warwicks who had just captured a position called Belle Vue Farm. At 18.40, they moved forward behind the cover of a British artillery barrage. The attack was successful but 9 men had been killed and 42 wounded. The evening was quiet and the men were able to consolidate the positions gained. However, from 1am the next morning, the Germans started to shell the Gloucesters, causing more casualties - 2 dead, 2 wounded.

They held the position throughout the 7th, suffering more casualties from the intermittent shelling. At dawn on the 8th, they moved to new position in a sunken road and took part in a general advance of the British line on a five mile wide front. Orders were received to undertake a specific attack at dawn on the 9th.

They moved up to assembly positions and were ready for "zero hour" at 5.20am. As in earlier days, they followed close behind the artillery barrage and took their objectives after hard fighting.

Whenever it was that Herbert had been wounded, he will have received treatment from the Battalion's own medical officer but this will have been little more than first aid. He will then have been moved by stretcher bearers of the Medical Corps' Field Ambulance to the Main Dressing Station where his condition will have been stabilised. He will have been taken by motor transport to the field hospital where surgeons will have done all they could, but without success.

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