In our extensive study of men killed during the Great War and commemorated on the local Memorials, we identified details of the great majority of the men named. We were unable to find details on six of them named in Morley and Churwell.
Recently, a friend of the group, Chris Harrison, supplied us with details of one of these, named on the Memorials in Morley and Churwell as Joseph Lister.
We believe that this refers to L/Cpl Joseph William Lister of the 2nd Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment who was killed on 13th March 1915. He is commemorated at the Le Touret Memorial in France and his record can be seen here.
Comparing the details on the Commonwealth War grave with that of a Churwell man with the same name shows full agreement. Extra information emerges. He preferred to be called Joe and he was born there in the Spring of 1874. Joe was the son of Johnny and Harriet Lister and he had seven siblings. One of these, John, was killed at the front on 8-December-1917.
The family lived on Primrose Terrace and Joseph did simple labouring jobs, sometimes for the tramways, in his working life.
We’ve found records which show that he served with the Yorkshire Regiment as a regular soldier, attesting in 1893. We don’t know how long he served but he married Ada Gomersall, a weaver, at St Peter’s Church in Morley on 21-May-1904. They lived in Longley Place, Churwell in 1911 and had no children.
Looking at the enlistment records in the Morley Observer we find that he had enlisted by early September in 1914, going to the Richmond Barracks of the Yorkshire Regiment. His previous military experience probably accounts for him becoming a Lance Corporal very quickly. Such men as he were valued. We note that both the Morley and Churwell Memorial authorities thought that he had served with the KOYLIs.
He was placed in the 2nd Battalion, known as the Green Howards and it’s likely he was killed in the action at Neuve Chapelle in mid-March.
Joe and Ada had no children and she died a few months after Joe’s death from a serious interior illness, probably exacerbated by the loss of her husband. She is buried in Bruntcliffe Cemetery with other members of the Gomersall family.
We can find no record of the death of either Joe or his brother in the local press. May they rest in Peace.