Joseph Allison Hamerton
Date of birth: 1888
Date of death: 24.11.1918
Regiment: Royal Garrison Artillery
Family information: Husband of Lilian Emma Hamerton nee Moody
Service number: 81374
Joseph Allison Hamerton enlisted in the Army at Redhill on the 11th December 1915, signing for the duration of the war. At this time he gave his home address as 86, Brighton Road, Reigate and his occupation as linotype operator. He was mobilised on 15th May 1915 and posted to the Royal Garrison Artillery Depot at Dover, before moving to Portland. On the 9th September 1916, having passed the 1st Class Signalling and Telephony Course, Gunner Hamerton was posted to 215th Siege Battery. The Battery was posted to France to join the British Expeditionary Force and sailed from Southampton to Le Havre on 2nd January 1917.
The Royal Garrison Artillery was armed with heavy, large calibre, guns and howitzers. These guns were positioned some way behind the front line and had immense destructive power. The Siege Batteries were equipped with these heavy howitzers and deployed to fire large calibre, high-explosive shells in high trajectories. As the British artillery tactics developed, the Siege Battery was often employed in destroying or neutralising enemy artillery. They were also deployed to destroy enemy strong points, dumps, stores, roads and railways behind enemy lines. Likewise the German Artillery often sought out the British guns, causing casualties and prompting frequent changes of position.
In one such bombardment, on 18th May 1918, Gunner Hamerton was caught by the blast from a gas shell. He was initially taken to the 148th Field Ambulance and then onto the 5th General Hospital at Rouen. On 30th May 1918 he was repatriated to England and admitted to the Middlesex War Hospital. After four months treatment, Gunner Hamerton was discharged from hospital and posted to the Royal Artillery Command Depot at Ripon. Shortly afterwards, on 10th November, he was admitted to Ripon Military Hospital suffering from Influenza. Joseph Allison Hamerton died on 24th November 1918, a victim of “Spanish Flu”, though the official cause of death was Influenza, Bronchial-Pneumonia.
On the 28th November 1918, Joseph Allison Hamerton Jnr was buried at Outwood Cemetery, after a service at St Mary Magdalene Church. However his name is not included on either of the village war memorials. His parents, Joseph Allison and Sarah Hamerton were living at Sunnyside Terrace, Outwood. His wife, Lilian Emma Hamerton, was later awarded a pension, at which time she was living with her two children at 9, Church Road, Redhill, Surrey.
Joseph Allison Hamerton was born on 11th March 1888, the son of Joseph Hamerton and his wife Sarah, nee Spurr. He was baptised on 29th April 1888 at St Mary Magdalene Church, Outwood. His parents had married on 10th August 1876 at the same church. The family continued to live in Outwood and his father, Joseph Allison Hamerton, was described as “living on own means” on the census returns for that period. On leaving school, Joseph Allison Hamerton became a linotype operator and moved to London. In 1911 he was a boarder at the home of William Henry Wood, at Merrick Square, London. On 2nd June 1912 Joseph Allison Hamerton married Lilian Emma Moody at St John’s Church, Reigate, Surrey. Shortly afterwards, on 2nd August, their daughter Joyce Mary was born at Reigate. A second daughter, Gladys Lilian, was born on 26th May 1914, also at Reigate.