Date of birth: 25th April 1894
Date of death: 16th July 1915
Regiment: Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve
Family information: Son of Reuben and Frances Wilson
Rank: Able Seaman
Service number: KW/433
Joseph enlisted in Kitchener’s Army in September 1914. By this time, he was living in Knottingley with his family.
On 10th September he was transferred to the fledgling Royal Naval Division. He was enrolled into the Hawke Battalion on 13th October 1914.
After training, Joseph was promoted from Ordinary Seaman to Able Seaman in May 1915. The Battalion were shipped out to the Mediterranean as part of the Expeditionary Force sent to the Dardanelles. Hawke Battalion were part of 63rd (Royal Naval) Division, part of 189th Brigade.
On 28th May the Hawke Battalion arrived by night and joined The Royal Naval Division who had already landed at Cape Helles. In the days that followed they took their turn in the trenches, prepared and made raids on the Turkish trenches, dug in and withdrew to rest. This became their life, as well as coping with the many privations of heat and lack of water that characterised the fighting in Gallipoli.
In the middle of July preparations were made for an offensive on Achi Baba Nullah. Hawke Battalion’s objective was to take Turkish positions on a hill overlooking Cape Helles.
Heavy casualties resulted in the following days, in British and French forces. On 16th July Hawke Battalion lost two men, one was Joseph Wilson.
Joseph has no known grave and is commemorated on the Helles Memorial.
Joseph was born on 25th April 1894 in Pontefract. He was the son of Reuben Wilson and Frances Appleyard. They married in Castleford in 1893. Reuben was born in Allerton Bywater and Frances came from Leeds. They lived in Pontefract and Reuben was a coal miner. Joseph was their first child, followed by a daughter Sarah and another son Reuben. It appears Frances died in 1903, when their youngest child was barely two years old. Reuben continued to live in Pontefract with his children but also his nephew Parmenaus and his wife and their four children shared the home.
When Joseph left school he went down the mines and worked as a pony driver below ground and later became a miner.