Lavender, Joseph

I found Joseph Lavender in the Chester Chronicle Newspaper when I was researching other men from WW2 who were from Flintshire.

Chester Chronicle 8th May 1943 (Page 5, Col. 4)


DIED OF WOUNDS – Mrs LAVENDER, 15, Bridge Street, has been notified that her husband, Gunner Jos. LAVENDER, R.A. died of wounds on April 12th in the Middle East.   He was 36 and joined the Army in August 1941.   He had been employed at Messrs. McHattie’s, Chester, for some years.

Joseph Lavender’s family history is a complicated one and I have done the best I can to unravel it, so apologies if I don’t have it correct.

Joseph was born the youngest son and last child of Charles & Sarah Lavender (nee Maddock(s)) in 1906 and baptised on the 30th May of that year.     Charles Lavender had been married three times, suffering bereavement twice before he married Sarah Maddocks in 1896 in St. Mary’s Church in Chester on the 6th April 1896.   Charles Lavender, 61, was a widower and a Cable Chain Maker, living at Greenway Street, his father was William Lavender (deceased), a Nail Maker.   Sarah Maddocks was 37 and a Spinster, living at Brown’s Court, her father was Joseph Maddocks (deceased) and a Labourer.   Charles signed his marriage certificate with an X.  Sarah signed her name.

Charles Lavender had been born in 1835 and married first Rose Hannah McCoy in 1854, then after Rose Hannah’s death married Mary Ann Gibbs, then subsequently married Sarah as above.    He was the father to 19 children according to the Family Tree on Ancestry (Fact Details Thanks to PLB Family Tree – ChBuckley12).

Joseph is first seen on the 1911 census, living with his parents, Charles & Sarah at 9, Handbridge, Chester as well as some of his siblings.   Sarah filled in the census form, the first time that residents could do this, as Charles is blind and had been for the last 10 years and unable to work, so they would be in a terrible position monetarily.  Charles Lavender, 75, (Married 14 years), was a Cable Chain Maker, born in Churchill, Worcestershire.    Sarah, 47, a Charwoman, born in Dunkirk, Cheshire.   Sarah tells us that 7 children had been born to them and all were still living, but the Enumerator had crossed this off and entered 5 children.   This also explains a question I had about the children listed.   The next person on the census was May Maddocks, 17, single and a Domestic Servant, born in Chester, Cheshire.  May is listed as a daughter, but my research leads me to believe that May is probably Sarah’s sister, they shared the same parents, Joseph & Mary Maddocks.   Next is Charles Maddocks,15,  listed as a son, but I believe that he was the son of Sarah, but not necessarily the son of Charles, please see Charles’s baptism below.   Leaving us with the 5 children born to Charles & Sarah, Rosanna, 13, Phylis, 11, Enoch, 8,Mary, 6 and Joseph, 5, all at school and all born Chester.

Sarah & the family were to suffer the loss of Charles in 1915, when he died aged 79 years (Chester Castle, Cheshire West, CAS/67/1) when Joseph was age 9 years, he was to suffer more grief when his mother Sarah died in 1918 (Chester City, Cheshire West CHC/1/54) when Joseph was age 12.

Charles William Maddocks, the brother of Joseph, was to die in WW1, losing his life, with all the crew, of the Black Prince, he also is not remembered on any memorial in Saltney, not on the WW1 Memorial in St. Mark’s Church, please click on the link to read more of him.  So Sarah was to suffer the death her son in 1916, after the year before, suffering the loss of her husband Charles, little knowing that her youngest son would also die of wounds in 1943.

Joseph was to start a new life with his Aunt, May Maddocks, who married in the December quarter of 1919 John Doran in St. Mary’s Church, Chester (Cheshire West CE14/11/204).    I don’t know who the other siblings went to after Sarah died.

This information is given in the Cheshire Observer, 15th May 1943, under Saltney, I found from this source that Joseph had married Doris Evelyn Cunningham in the March quarter of 1935 and they were living at 15, Bridge Street, Saltney.

Indeed I did find then on the 1939 National Register which was taken on the 29th September 1939 living at 6 West View, Hawarden, Flintshire, Wales (Probably Saltney).   This source gives us the dates of birth and occupations as well, so it tells us that Joseph was born on the 31st March 1906 and he was as a Public Works Contractor.   Doris Lavender had been born on the 31st October 1912 and as most women who did not have a job, was described as doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.”  Two children are listed, Roy Lavender born 18th July 1935 and Joseph Lavender, born 26th August 1938, both under School age.

I believe that there were 2 more children, a girl, Alice M. Lavender, born in the June quarter of 1940 and a boy, John E. Lavender, born in the March quarter of 1943, born roughly a month or so before, his father Joseph died of wounds.

According to the newspaper cuttings, Joseph was, for many years, an employee of McHattie & Co. of Chester, the seed company.

Joseph joined the forces in August 1941 and was wounded in 1942, only returning to his unit from Hospital in March of 1943.  He was to be wounded in the following month and then succumbed to his wounds.

Joseph was attested in 1941 – Attestation year 1941 (233 Light A.A. Trg. Regt. 20th October 1941) (Died 12.4.43 (crossed out) Date amended to 20.4.43.), but he was eventually in the was in the 166 Bty., 56 Lt. A.A. Regt. Royal Artillery when he was wounded and died in 1943.

ChBuckley12 originally shared this on 12 May 2015 on Ancestry – many thanks the them:-

Lavender, Joseph_Royal Artillery Attestion 1941

20 Oct 1941.

Chester, Cheshire, England.

Royal Artillery attestations 1883-1942. Saighton camp is located on the border between Saighton and Huntington and covers an area of approximately 33 hectares. It was created between 1938 and 1939 for use as a military training camp during World War II. “It was originally used as a basic training facility for the army, and by 1940 light anti-aircraft batteries were already undergoing instruction at the camp. Saighton Camp subsequently became the Primary Training Centre for the 233 Light Anti-Aircraft Training Regiment of the Royal Artillery.

Casualty List 985 (Page 13) tells us about the first time that Joseph was wounded on the 25th October 1942, whilst with the 166 Bty., 56 Lt. A.A. Regt. Royal Artillery.

Casualty List No. 1128 (Secret) tells us that he died of wounds on the 12th April 1943.

Casualty List (Page 14) tells us that Joseph died of wounds and the correct date is the 20th April 1943.

Joseph’s Casualty Card gives his place of birth as Ambridge, St.Plury, Chester, but I think it was badly transcribed from other documents, but should read Handbridge, St. Mary, Chester.  It also tells us that his home was Saltney.  This source tells us that he died of wounds in the Middle East on the 20th April 1943.

Joseph was first buried at a place that the Commonwealth War Graves Concentration Report Form describes with a Reference Number – 3372 – GRR/17/198/3, then on the 30th December 1943, he was reburied at the Cemetery where he now rests.

History Information – Taken from the Commonwealth War Graves Citation for Joseph:-

In May 1943, the war in North Africa came to an end in Tunisia with the defeat of the Axis powers by a combined Allied force. The campaign began on 8 November 1942, when Commonwealth and American troops made a series of landings in Algeria and Morocco. The Germans responded immediately by sending a force from Sicily to northern Tunisia, which checked the Allied advance east in early December. Meanwhile, in the south, the Axis forces defeated at El Alamein were withdrawing into Tunisia along the coast through Libya, pursued by the Allied Eighth Army. By mid April 1943, the combined Axis force was hemmed into a small corner of north-eastern Tunisia and the Allies were grouped for their final offensive. The Eighth Army attack on the position at Enfidaville on 19 April captured the village, but strong resistance meant no further progress was possible. Attacks further north met with greater success and Tunis fell on 7 May, Bizerta on the 8th. By 11 May, the position at Enfidaville was surrounded at resistance ceased on the following day. Most of those buried at Enfidaville War Cemetery died in the final battles from March to the beginning of May. The cemetery contains 1,551 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War, 88 of them unidentified.

Joseph must have been so badly missed and loved by his family, especially his young children, it is sad to see that there is no formal WW2 War Memorial in Saltney for his name to be remembered in perpetuity, along with the other young men who gave their live for us all.

I believe Doris Evelyn Lavender was to marry again on the 22nd March 1949 (according to the 1939 Register) to Arthur John Carline in a Civil Marriage (Cheshire West ROC/101/145).


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