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Private Joseph Youdale
19845 15th Battalion (Birkenhead Bantams) Cheshire Regiment
Born 1883 Penrith. Died June 1960 Penrith Aged 77
Son of John and Mary (nee Watson) Youdale of Penrith
Husband of Elizabeth Ann Foster, and lived at Gillside Farm Cottage, Glenridding before WW1
Joseph Youdale was born in St Andrews Penrith in 1883. His father John was a labourer and he and his wife Mary (nee Watson) already had 6 children when Joseph arrived. John was born in Langwathby in 1842 and Mary in Edenhall a year later. They married in Penrith on the 8th May 1864. Their first son William was born in 1868 in Penrith, followed by George a year later, then Elizabeth (1873), David (1875), Margaret (1877), and John 1881. After Joseph was born they had another child, Anne, in 1888.
By 1891 the family had moved to Stainton just outside Penrith, and John was working as a railway platelayer. By then Joseph’s oldest brother William was also working on the railways as a railway engine cleaner, and his brother David was working with his father as a platelayer. Sadly by this time Joseph sister Margaret had died (in 1888 aged 11).
We have so far not been able to find any trace of the family in the 1901 census. The family surname was spelt in a variety of ways in the censuses including Youdal and Youdall. We do know that Joseph married Elizabeth Ann Foster from Hollingwood in Oldham in early 1910 and by the time of the 1911 they were living at Gillside Farm Cottage in Glenridding and Joseph was working at Greenside mine as an above ground labourer.
Joseph was one of the first from the Dale to join the Army after war was declared. He enlisted on the 30th November 1914 in Penrith, when his occupation was still a miner at Greenside. The normal regulation height for soldiers was 5 feet 3 inches and Joseph was just 5 feet 1½ inches tall so was not tall enough for regular Army battalions. However he ended up joining the 15th (1st Birkenhead) Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment. This was one of the so called “Bantam” Battalions. Bantam Battalions were those which admitted troops who were under the normal regulation minimum height. The 15th was raised by Alfred Bigland MP on the 18th November 1914. After initial training close to home, they moved to Hoylake. In June 1915 :they joined 105th Brigade, 35th Division at Masham, North Yorkshire. The Battalion was adopted by the War Office on the 15th of August 1915 and they moved to Salisbury Plain for final training. They were ordered to Egypt in late 1915, but the order was soon cancelled.
On the 30th January 1916 Joseph and his fellow soldiers embarked on the SS Caesarea at Southampton bound for Le Havre. On arrival his division concentrated east of St Omer. They were in action during the Battles of the Somme in July at Bazentin Ridge, Arrow Head Copse, Maltz Horn Farm and Falfemont Farm. The division received new drafts of men to replace losses suffered on the Somme, but the CO. soon discovered that these new recruits were not of the same physical standard as the original Bantams, being men of small stature from the towns, rather than the miners and farm workers who had joined up in 1915. A medical inspection was carried out and 1439 men were transferred to the Labour Corps. Their places were taken by men transferred from the disbanded yeomanry regiments, who underwent a quick training course in infantry methods at a Divisional depot set up specifically for that purpose.
Joseph himself was on leave in France on the 14th September 1916. However he was by this time ill with Nephritis, and was soon transferred to the 2nd Western General Hospital in Manchester. Trench Nephritis is the inflammation of the capillary loops in the glomeruli of the kidneys. The most common cause was exposure to cold and wet conditions which Joseph would have had had in the trenches. His medical report states that he said "before leaving France on leave he had shortness of breath & swelling of legs... Result of active service, exposure. Probably permanent although it may improve."
He remained at the hospital until the 11th November 1916. There is an excellent history of the hospitals in Manchester here.
It was clear by the time of his discharge from hospital that Joseph was unfit to continue with active service and on the 2nd Dec 1916 he was discharged from the Army in Shrewsbury under Kings Regulations Para 392 xvi which simply states that he was “No longer physically fit for service”. At the time his address was 25 Spring Street, Hyde, Cheshire, which is presumably where his wife had moved in the war. On his Silver War Badge record his name is given as Yondale.
We’re not sure what Joseph did after the war but we know that he and Mary Elizabeth eventually returned to Penrith, where Joseph died in June 1960 at the age of 77. Mary Elizabeth had died in Penrith at the age of 74 a few years before in December 1957. We are not sure if they ever had any children.
We only know of Joseph’s involvement in the war because of his inclusion in Mrs Marshall’s first Patterdale Roll of Honour in January 1915. His name was not included on the Glenridding Village Hall Roll of Honour, perhaps because he and his wife moved to Hyde in the war and he never returned, and had no other family in the Dale. However he is at least now remembered here.
In terms of the rest of the family Joseph’s father had moved back to Penrith before the war and in 1911 was still, at the age of 69, still working as a platelayer and living at 3 Union Lane in Penrith. His wife Mary died in early 1914 at the age of 71. John himself died in March 1925 at the age of 83.
Joseph’s oldest brother George had left Penrith and moved to the West Coast of Cumbria. In 1891 he was working as a labourer, and by 1911 was living him Maryport with his wife Ada and three children (Jane, Mary and Edith). George died in Cockermouth in December 1940 at the age of 74.
Joseph’s older brothers William and David were still living with their parents in Unions Street Penrith in 1911. William was a 37 year old labourer and David as a plumber and painter. David tragically died a few years later at the age of 37 in April 1917. William remained in Penrith for the rest of his life until his death in December 1950 at the age of 82.
Joseph’s older sister Elizabeth had also tragically died in Penrith in April 1907 at the age of 32. We believe his youngest sister married Hugh Ward in 1909. Hugh was a veteran of the Boer War and Hugh and Anne lived briefly with John and Elizabeth in Glenridding around 1910 at Gillside. Hugh also worked in the mines and served with distinction in World War One in the Army Service Corps.
Joseph’s other brother John married Mary Francis Potts in Penrith in November 1904. By 1911 he was working as a roadmaker for the county council. Sadly both of John and Mary’s children born since their marriage had died in infancy. However we do know that they subsequently had three more children. John himself served in the war in the Royal Engineers. He was enlisted in January 1917, by which time he was a road foreman, and was in France as a sapper in the Royal Engineers within a month, as part of the 306th Road Construction Company. He served in France until his demobilisation in 1919. We’re not sure what happened to John and his family after the war but do know that John died in Cockermouth in December 1962 at the age of 82 -
If you can add anything to the story of Joseph and his family please contact us.
Joseph’s Medal Cards above and below his entry in the Silver War badge Log Book -