Walton, Joseph

Joseph Walton was born about 1879 in Garforth, Yorkshire. He was recorded for the first time on a census in 1881. He was living at Barwick with his family.  Father, James Walton, 29 was head of the households, a Journeyman Tailor who had been born in Barwick.  His wife Elizabeth, 26, had been born in Whitkirk, Yorkshire. Their listed children were  Jane H. 4,  Joseph, 2 and baby Clarence 8 months old.

The 1891 census sees the family living at York Lane, Bramham cum Oglethorpe, Yorkshire.  James, 39 was still a Tailor, Elizabeth was 37. The children were  Jane Hannah,14,  Joseph, 12,  Clarence, 10, William  Benjamin, 4 and Arthur, 1.

Joseph, joined the Army in 1897. He bought himself out in 1899 (More of this below).

I believe that Joseph Walton married Mary Raper in Wetherby, Yorkshire in the March Qtr. of 1906 ( Vol. 9a Page 171) and they are recorded on the 1911 census living at Pentre,  Hawarden, Flintshire.   Joseph, 32 was a General Labourer who had been born in Leeds, Yorkshire. His wife Mary, 30 had been born in Clifford, Yorkshire. Their children were listed as  Emily 5,  Mary, 5, and Agnes.   They had been married 5 years according to the census and 3 children had been born, all were still living.  (Many people came to live in Deeside when the John Summers steelworks opened).

In 1912, they lost their little Emily Harriet, age 6, her death is listed on the family gravestone in Hawarden Churchyard.

UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 accessible on  confirms some of the regimental information above and  tells us that he was born in Garforth and he enlisted in Leeds. As  someone with military experience he was a reservist and so among the first to be called up. His medal card, also on ‘Ancestry’,  details his medals. it says his qualifying date was 31st August 1914. 2 months later he was killed in action on the 31st October 1914.

Green Book – Monumental Inscriptions in St. Deniol’s Churchyard. Page 38 and the Imperial War Museum – Memorials Project –

Joseph Walton’s Army Service Records have survived and are accessible on They pertain to his earlier period in the army, before the First World War  and in particular to one incident.

There is no Flintshire WW1 Index Card neither “Fallen” nor “Living” for Joseph.

His Attestation papers were signed on the 8th November 1897 in Pontefract Yorkshire. He was 18 years and 7 months old. He said that he’d been born in Garforth near Leeds. He was already serving in the Militia in the 3rd York and Lancs Regiment and he expressed a preference to stay in that regiment.

He was medically examined on the same day and the medical report tells us He was 5 Feet 5 inches tall and weighed 130 lbs. His chest measurement was 32 inches with an expansion range of 2 and a half inches. His complexion was ‘fresh’, his eyes were grey and his hair was dark. He had a scar in the middle of his hand (Possibly. Difficult to read) and there was another scar on his upper lip. His religion was Weslyan. He was considered to be fit to serve in the army.

His mother, Elizabeth Walton of Bramham, Boston Spa  RSO (which seems to have been a kind of early postal code) was named as his next of kin.

The bulk of his records concern an inquiry into an incident in the gymnasium when he was hurt. The Court of Inquiry took place on the 5th April 1898 in Colchester.  The court’s remit was  ‘investigating & reporting upon the circumstances under which No. 5003 Pte J. Walton 1 York & Lancs Regt. sustained an injury’ .

It appears that Joseph was practicing bayonet fighting when his opponent pushed him backward onto the parallel bars and injured his back.  He was taken into hospital.

There are about 6 papers referring to this incident,including witness statements. One memo from an army medic concluded that

York and Lancs Regt. 

I certify that the injury for which No 5003 Pte J Walton was admitted to hospital on 31st March 1898 ‘York and Lancs Regt is not likely to interfere with his future efficiency as a soldier.

Signed by (illegible signature)


After 1year and 285 days service, on 19th  August 1899 , he bought himself a discharge for the sum of £18..00. He was recalled to the army some 14 years later at the start of the war and was killed in action on the 31 October 1914.

Taken from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Historical Information:         The Menin Gate is one of four memorials to the missing in Belgian Flanders which cover the area known as the Ypres Salient. Broadly speaking, the Salient stretched from Langemarck in the north to the northern edge in Ploegsteert Wood in the south, but it varied in area and shape throughout the war. The Salient was formed during the First Battle of Ypres in October and November 1914, when a small British Expeditionary Force succeeded in securing the town before the onset of winter, pushing the German forces back to the Passchendaele Ridge.

Joseph is also remembered on the Sandycroft War Memorial in St. Francis’s Church

Learn more about the other soldiers on the Hawarden Memorial

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