12481 SGT. JOSEPH ALOYSIUS MOXHAM. L.N.LAN.R.
Joseph Aloysius Moxham was born in the summer of 1895 in Lostock Hall. His father was Joseph Aloysius Moxham (b. 1864 in Preston), a grocer and butcher. His mother was Mary Walmsley (b. 1858 in Euxton). Joe and Mary were married at Brownedge St Mary’s on 1 February 1888 and they had 5 children: Sarah Ellen (b. 1889), Margaret Mary (b. 1891), Agnes Josephine (b. 1893), then Joseph jnr, and Alice (b. 1898). Mary died in 1900 and the following year, Joseph married again. His second wife was Margaret Alice Smith (b. 1880 in Preston), and they had 8 more children: Thomas Benedict (b. 1902), Frances (b. 1906), Wilfred Ambrose (b. 1907), Monica (b. 1908), Gerard (1910-11), Mary Gertrude (b. 1913), Gerard Benedict (b. 1915) and finally John Cuthbert (b. 1916). In 1901, after Mary had died and before Joe married Margaret, the family was living at 52 Watkin Lane. By 1911, they had moved to 2 Heskin Terrace, Tardy Gate (Heskin Terrace is between Coote Lane and Harold Terrace). Joe snr gives his occupation as fire light manufacturer and Joe jnr is working in the family business.
Joe Moxham attested he was willing to serve in the Army on 1 September 1914. He joined the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and was posted to 6th Battalion. His papers survive but are badly burned, however they tell us that he was promoted to Lance Corporal on 12 June 1915, Corporal on 18 June 1916 and Sergeant on 14 October 1918.
In June 1915, Joe sailed with 6th Battalion L.N.LAN.R. to Gallipoli via Moudros. They landed at Cape Helles on 6 July. The earlier landing and attack in April had been unsuccessful and the campaign had reached a stalemate. In July the Ottomans launched a counterattack which was resisted. At the end of July, 13th Division (including 6Bn L.N.LAN.R.) was withdrawn to Moudros but they then returned to Anzac Cove on 5 August. There followed a period of two or three weeks of intensive attacks by British and Anzac troops but again they failed to break the Ottoman resistance and stalemate ensued. With the onset of winter, conditions in the trenches were horrendous. Eventually, it was decided that no advance could be made on this front and the troops were withdrawn in late December and early January. On 8-9 January 1916, the Division was evacuated from Helles and by 31 January was concentrated at Port Said in Egypt. The Division held forward posts in the Suez Canal defences.
On 12 February 1916 the Division began to move to Mesopotamia, to strengthen the force being assembled for the relief of the besieged garrison at Kut al Amara. By 27 March, the Division had assembled near Sheikh Sa’ad and came under orders of the Tigris Corps. It then took part in the attempts to relieve Kut. After these efforts failed and Kut fell, the British force in the theatre was built up and reorganised. The Division then took part in the following, more successful, operations:
The Battle of Kut al Amara, December 1916-February 1917
The capture of the Hai Salient, 25 January – 5 February 1917
The capture of Dahra Bend, 9-16 February 1917
The passage of the Diyala, in the pursuit of the enemy towards Baghdad, 7-10 March 1917
At 10.30am on 11 March 1917, D Squadron, 1/1st Hertfordshire Yeomanry and the 6th (Service) Bn, the King’s Own were the first British troops to enter Baghdad, which fell on this day.
For more information about Mesopotamia, click here.
During the rest of March and April 1917, operations were undertaken to consolidate the position won at Baghdad, by pushing north across Iraq. As part of “Marshall’s Column”, the Division fought at Delli ‘Abbas (27-28 March), Duqma (29 March), Nahr Kalis (9-15 April), crossed the ‘Adhaim (18 April) and at Shatt al ‘Adhaim (30 April).
The Division spent the rest of the War in northern Mesopotamia (around Kirkuk, in modern Iraq). The War ended here on 31 October 1918 when Turkey signed an Armistice. The Division was disbanded on 31 March 1919.
Joe Moxham was demobilized on 9 August 1919 and he returned to his home address, which was 7 Carrington Terrace, Lostock Hall. [My grandmother and great grandparents, the Schultz family, were living next-door-but-one at no. 9]. The family photo was taken at the wedding of his sister, Agnes, in the summer of 1919, just after Joe was demobbed. Joe is wearing his uniform.
The following year, Joe married Rebecca Parkinson (b. 1894 in Bamber Bridge). They had a daughter, Mary, in 1922. It appears from some immigration papers as though Joe worked in various parts of Africa (Kenya, South Africa) in the 1930s and 1940s and in these papers his occupation is recorded as locomotive engine driver. Joe died on 4 July 1957, aged 62.