Joseph (Joe) Albert Hulley was born on 8th January, 1884 at Tavern Houses, Wepre, Northop, and baptised on 10th February, 1884 at St Mark’s Parish Church, Connah’s Quay. He was the ninth of 11 children to William Hulley and Mary (Berry).
The Hulley family were living at Vine Cottages, Connah’s Quay in 1891, and 10 years later at 1, Red House Cottages, Connah’s Quay and Joseph was employed as an ironworks labourer, a position he held throughout his civilian life.
On 17th October, 1903 Joe married Elizabeth (Bessie) Cartwright at St John’s Parish Church, Chester and lived with Bessie’s parents at 299, West View, Oakenholt. Their son, William George, was born in 1904, daughter Beatrice Louisa in 1906, and son Albert Cecil in 1908.
Joe’s father William died on 7th July, 1913 at his residence in High Street, Connah’s Quay, aged 73, and was buried in Connah’s Quay Town Cemetery. He was a native of the district, of which he was one of the oldest inhabitants, and was well respected. He had been employed as a foreman at the old chemical works, which were then at Wepre, and after fulfilling duties in Scotland he returned to Connah’s Quay, where he held a position as foreman at the old Borax Works.
Joe and Bessie had the last of their children with the birth of their son, John Harold in December, 1913, and by this time they were living at 4, Gardeners Row, Oakenholt.
Joe enlisted in Wrexham on 31st August, 1914 with the 8th (Service) Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers, No. 12578. He landed at the Balkans on 6th July, 1915 and his Battalion were connected for a time with the Australians’ contingent, which he praised for splendid work. Sometime after July, 1916 he was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps.
He died of wounds in Mesopotamia on 11th April, 1917. He has no known grave but is commemoratedon the Basra Memorial, Iraq on Panel 41. He is remembered on three war memorials: Flint Town, St David’s Parish Church, Oakenholt and the North Wales Heroes’ Memorial Arch, Bangor. He was awarded the 1914–15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
Private Hulley, who was with the Battalion on the Peninsular of Gallipoli, forwarded a letter, dated 29th September, 1915, to Mr J Cartwright, of 168, Chester Road, Flint.
He referred to the fighting with the Turks and stated that on the night of the 28th September they “had a — of a night of it.” The Turks made an attack upon the Battalions’ trenches and they gave them something to go on with. They allowed the Turks to get right up to the British trenches. Then the order was given to the lads to charge, “and you should hear them shout when they saw the bayonet. You would stare to see some of the fellows about the size of me chasing some about 6 feet. They would have been beaten a long time ago only for the Germans who are with them. We have met Joyce and the rest of the Flint boys. I expect you will have heard all the news by now . . . It’s queer how pals should meet together out here. We had a lovely voyage out here. We were on the boat 14 days, and we landed under heavy fire. We all thought our number was up; but we are here yet … all the Pentre boys are well, excepting W. Wright. He is in a hospital, with a slight wound . . . We are amongst the hills . . . Well, now I must ring off now as old Jack, the Turk, is dropping a few shells over us, but he is getting a few back.”
In a letter received two weeks later he said:
“. . . they were still pegging away at the Turks, and doing their little bit. The 8th Battalion were much in evidence. Some people thought it was a bit of a picnic out there; but if the men went for a rest they were under shell fire all the time. He did not think the ‘black swine’ the Turks, would hold out much longer; they would have given up long before then but for the Germans who were with them. He believed Ernest Joyce was to get the DCM; and he deserved it.”
The following letter, dated 29th November, was sent to a friend, probably in 1916.
Dear Old Sport
Just a line in answer to your letter which I have received & glad to hear you where all in the pink as it leaves me at present. I believe Ben & Forrester is down the line somewhere & are going on alright as far as I know I have received a letter from G. Hooson I should just like you to read it he dose’nt (sic) half call them some names. Square heads & B- B- & B. Swines of all sorts, I can see by the reports their as been H-ll to go in France & our lads as done well Hooson was saying their prisoner’s say we have to many big guns but the swines did not say that in 1914. Well old cock their does not seem no sign of homeward bound yet & expect we will have to nish these B—–s up here first, the weather up here is a lot cooler here now but it as been H-ll up here, we are expecting the rain here any time now but I don’t want another summer out here I had enough of the last one, you want to keep T Lloyd & D. Evans in good trim & I wonder what sort of a breed Bob will throw, Well Joe I must ring off now Remember me to Mr & Mrs Bellis & Ned Evans tell him to keep on the steady till me & Hooson drops on him & hoping you have had a good Xmas & wishing you all the best of luck & a Happy New Year from your Pal J. Hulley
Remember me to Gert & Willie & hurry up with the family
How is Mash getting on with is better half.
If you know of anyone writing tell them this address
Pte J. A. Hulley
C/o Advance Base
Mac. Gun. Depot
Mes. Exp. Force
Joe’s mother Mary, who was a native of Manchester, died 27th November, 1923, aged 81, and was buried with her husband and their son Frank, who died on 4th February 1915, aged 22.
His Flint-born wife, Bessie, never remarried and died on 30th October, 1954 following an illness covering some years and is buried in the Old London Road Cemetery, with her daughter and son-in-law Beatrice Louisa and Joseph H Watton. She was a member of St David’s Parish Church, Oakenholt.