Joseph Duckers was born about 1889. He was recorded on the census of 1891 living with his family in Isycoed. Head of the household was Joseph Duckers (Snr) who was a 24 year old Agricultural Labourer. His wife Elizabeth was 27 and their only listed child was Joseph who was 1.
I believe that Elizabeth died in 1898 and that Joseph (Snr) remarried the same year. His second wife was Mary Elizabeth Harris.
The next census of 1901 records the changes in the circumstances. The family was living in Whitewell. Joseph (Snr) was 35 and still an Agricultural Labourer. His new wife, Mary Elizabeth was 26 years old. The listed children were Joseph 11, Thomas 7, May Elizabeth 3 and Frank 8 months. There was a visitor in the household – Thomas Fred Powell 17.
The 1911 census placed the family at Broad Oak Cottage, Whitchurch Salop. 44 year old Joseph was a Farm Labourer. His wife of 12 years was Mary Elizabeth who was 36. The form tells us she had given birth to 3 children all of whom were alive. The children listed in the household included her stepson Joseph who was 21 and who was a Domestic Gardener. Frank was 10, Mable 8 and Jessie 2. There was an Olive Emma Harris 16 listed as Joseph’s (snr) Stepdaughter on the census.
UK Soldiers Who Died in The Great War 1914 -19 accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk confirms Joseph’s regimental details and tells us that he enlisted in London. His medal index card also on ancestry details his medals and adds that his first Theatre of war was France and that he entered it on the 12th December 1914. For Joseph to have entered the war so early suggests that he must have had previous military experience, however, his Army Service records have survived and are on Ancestry and they include his Attestation Papers on which he stated he had no previous military experience.
He signed his attestation papers on the 26th November 1914 in London. He gave the address Broad Oak Cottage. He was 25 years and 4 months of age and was a Lorry Driver. Joseph was 5 feet 8 3/4 inches tall, weighed 136lbs and had a chest measurement of 34 and1/2 inches. His next of kin was his father Joseph Duckers (snr). His Physical Development and his eyesight were good. His religion was C of E.
Joseph served a total of 3 years and 341 days. he served ‘at home’ from the 26th November 1914 until the 11th December 1914 and joined the British Expeditionary Force in France on the 12th December 1914. The records say that he became ‘non -effective’ with influenza and pneumonia and died in the 3rd Canadian General Hospital in Boulogne on the 4th November 1918. The records state his illness was contracted ‘on active service’.
There is correspondence in the records with the family concerning the receipt of his medals, personal possessions and a commemorative plaque and scroll.
There is a ‘Living Relatives Form’ that was completed for the army dated 26th November 1919. It states that Joseph was unmarried and had no children. It states that the mother and father were dead. (Joseph snr died in 1916). The form says he had one full blood brother aged 26 and two half blood brothers aged 20 and 5. It says he had one full blood sister aged 21 and two half blood sisters aged 18 and 11. No names were included. It is difficult to read the signature at the bottom but my guess is that it was Joseph’s stepmother Mary Elizabeth that completed the form.
There is an index card for Joseph Duckers in The Flintshire Roll of Honour at The County Record office in Hawarden. The address is Broad Oak Cottage Whitchurch. His regimental details were confirmed and it says he died in Hospital in Boulogne on 4th November 1918. The card was signed by J W Foulkes on 18th July 1920.