Joseph Guest

Born: 1891
Died: 25 September 1915
Service number: 14201
Rank: Lance Corporal
Regiment/Service: 10th Battalion, Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)
Family information: Parents: Joseph and Elizabeth Guest, 79 Regent Street Castleford; Spouse: Effie Ellen Guest, 32 Roundhill Road, Castleford?

War service

Joseph enlisted in the 10th Battalion of the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) at Castleford. The Battalion was formed at Hamilton in September 1914 as part of K2 and attached to 46th Brigade, 15th (Scottish) Division. The Scottish Rifles were a lowland regiment so wore normal battle dress and marched at a fast pace.

They moved to Bordon and in February 1915 went into billets at Winchester. Then moved to Park House and Chisledon Camps (Salisbury Plain) in April 1915. They landed at Boulogne 10 July 1915.

On the morning of the first day of the Battle of Loos, there was some uncertainty about attacking because of the wind direction, it not being favourable for the use of gas. Breakfast was taken before the 5 am schedule for the attack and consisted of Café au lait and bully beef. The attack was postponed until 6.30 am and took place although the wind was actually in the faces of the British troops. Gas hoods were not very effective and many men removed them with the obvious result. Over the 3 day period of the initial attacks the 10th Scottish Rifles causalities were:

Officers 12 killed, 5 wounded, 4 missing

Other ranks 68 killed, 318 wounded, 239 missing

The 10th Battalion, as part of the 46th Brigade, prepared for an offensive on 25 September 1915 following an allied artillery barrage. At 5.50am, they advanced against the Germans. The yellow-white misty fumes of gas spread towards the enemy trenches. Drizzly rain was now falling, but it did not deter the charging men of the 10th Battalion.

Machine-guns from Lens Redoubt and Loos Road Redoubt caused casualties. Three Company Commanders and six Subalterns were killed along with many men. Machine-gunners from Fort Glatz added to the numbers. By 7.30am, the Battalion had captured trenches east of Greenay-Hulloch Road while heavy machine-gun fire was sprayed on them from the northern houses of Loos. Both the 10th Scottish Rifles and 8th Seaforth Highlanders continued to fight their way forward through the Loos houses to hill 70.

My grandfather was killed in the Battle of Loos on Saturday 25 September 1915, the first day of the battle. It would appear from records that Joseph and his brother David were killed in the same battle and on the same day, although in different regiments, both commemorated at Loos Cemetery. Joseph’s death was not recorded in the local paper until 12 months after his death when a memorial to both appeared. It leads me to believe that Joseph must have been posted missing as David's death had been recorded just after the battle.

The memorial reads
TWELVE MONTHS TODAY HE PASSED AWAY
HE FOR HIS COUNTRY DIED
WHILST ON THIS EARTH HE DID HIS BEST
AND NOW IN FRANCE HE LIES TO REST

Family story

My grandfather Joseph Guest was the son of Joseph and Elizabeth Guest (nee Beardmore) and was born in 1891 at 79 Regent St, Half Acres Castleford. At that time Joseph was 33 and Elizabeth 31 they had five more children, Hannah 12, Selina 10, Sarah 8, David 6 and Martha 3.

My grandfather married Effie Ellen Thomas in 1911

On his death in action, he left a wife, Effie Ellen born 1894, and two children, David born 1912 and Ellen born 1913. Effie was expecting my mother, Lily, who was born in the following March. They lived at 36 Roundhill Rd next door to Effie’s parents, Isaac and Ellen Pocket.

Effie Ellen gave birth to Lily on the 12 March 1916, she was christened at Temple St Methodist Chapel. Joseph is listed as the father and his occupation a coal miner. This leads me to believe that he was probably posted as missing hence no obituary in the local paper.

Effie later married George Albert Davis a widower with 2 children. His wife having died in childbirth in Dec 1912.

Effie died on 12th December 1933 and was buried in the same grave as Lucy Irene Davis.

My mother rarely talked about her life , I believe the war must have affected her mother deeply and having been brought up with a widowed mother with 3 children and then to lose her mother at 17 must have had quite an effect on my mothers life. To be fair her step father did not leave her out of a home.

Story submitted by Gordon Claughton

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