All text and images © Helvellyn Consulting 2022
Joseph Dargue was born around 1874 in Crook, Durham, where his father was a miner. His mother Jane was born Jane Nicholson in Patterdale in 1839, the daughter of Joseph Nicholson. By the time Joseph was born she’d already had an eventful life. When she was 25 she married William Armstrong on 15th July 1865, and they had two children, Hannah (in 1866 who died in infancy) and William in 1867. Before William was even born his father died, aged just 30, on the 7th April 1867. Jane then married again, to Thomas Dargue, a miner at Greenside. She gave birth to a daughter Sarah in the summer of 1870. By 1871 they had moved to Crawford in Lanarkshire in Scotland where Thomas again was working as a miner. Soon after this they moved to Crook in Durham, where Joseph was born. His brother John Thomas was born 3 years later in 1877. Tragedy struck Jane and the family again in January 1879 when her second husband Thomas, Joseph’s father, died. By 1881 Jane was living in Helmington Row, Durham with her daughter Sarah, and the boys Joseph and John Thomas.
She then moved the family back to Patterdale and on the 1st October 1887 married for a third time, to William Barron, himself a widower with his own son, George W, who was the same age as Joseph. By 1891 they were living in the Rake Cottages, near to the Graham family. By now 17 year old Joseph, his Step brother George, and 14 year old brother John Thomas were all working at Greenside. By 1901 Joseph had moved back to the north east, to Durham and was working as a coalminer. Around August 1901, Joseph married Mary Jane Walker. They continued to live in Stanley and had had four children (John Thomas, Kate Walker, Joseph Walker and William) by the time of the 1911 census.
We know from his medal card that Joseph enlisted in the Northumberland Fusiliers on the 27th September 1915, aged 41. We believe he served with the 4th battalion (for a superb history of them please see the 4th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers website). He is likely to have seen much action in France from 1916 onwards. We know that at some point he was wounded, and the nature of his wounds meant that he was transferred into the Royal Defence Corps (RDC). The RDC was made up of soldiers either too old or medically unfit for active front-
Joseph was finally discharged from the army on the 19th May 1919. He was awarded the Silver War Badge, which was given to soldiers who had been wounded in action, usually overseas, and his papers shows that he was discharged under Page 392 (xvi) Kings Regulations -
We are very grateful to Joseph’s great grandson Wayne who contacted us to tell us what happened to Joseph after the war. Joseph continued coal mining in Rossington South Yorkshire after WWI and he and Mary Jane had 3 more sons, Daniel, Albert and George. John, Albert and Daniel all served in WWII. Joseph Dargue suffered a major stroke and died in 1954 aged 81 in the Don Valley area in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Mary Jane died the following year around May 1955, aged 76.
In terms of the rest of his family, his mother Ann died in Patterdale at the end of 1891, aged 52. His step brother William Armstrong, his mothers eldest son but with whom Joseph never lived, was living with Jane’s parents in 1871 in Glenridding. By 1911 he was working as a Carter at Greenside and living with his Uncle Joseph Nicholson at High Glenridding. Joseph’s older sister Sarah married Joseph Brockbank Seward on 13 Jun 1895 at Parish Church of Ulverston, Lancashire. By 1911 they were living at 170 Ennerdale Road, Cleator Moor, Whitehaven and had 5 children. Sarah died in March 1949 aged 78 in Whitehaven.
His younger brother John Thomas married Phoebe Jane Borwick in Ulverston in July 1904. By 1911 they were living with their son Frederick in Dalton in Furness, where John was still employed as a miner. Kate Walker emigrated to Australia in 1926 -
If you can add to the story of Joseph, or have any photos of him or his family please contact us.
Joseph’s Silver War Badge Record above and his Medal Card below
Private Joseph Dargue
64791, 4th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers & Royal Defence Corps
Born 1874, Crook Durham . Died 1954 aged 81 in Yorkshire
Son of Thomas and Jane (nee Nicholson) Dargue, Rake Cottages
Husband of Mary Jane Walker
Father of John Thomas, Kate Walker, Joseph Walker, William, Daniel, Albert and George.