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26th Jun, 2022

Killed serving his country and now lying in a foreign field with comrades

Ross Crawford 21st May, 2018

BY mid-May 1918 the Germans were drawing breath between the three phases of their attacks on the Western Front.

Phase 1 had gone in across the battlefields of the Somme in March through to early April, and Phase 2, known as the Lys Offensive, had raged through Flanders for most of April.

The third phase wouldn’t start until May 27 but that didn’t mean the fighting stopped. There were artillery duels and raiding parties right along the length of the Western Front.

One victim was Josiah Court, aged 29, who was born and grew up in Redditch.

He was one of the three children of Joseph and Elizabeth Court and was born in 1899.

Joseph worked as a fish hook hardener and Elizabeth as a needle burnisher and the family lived together at 29 Beoley Road, later moving to 56 Other Road. Elizabeth died early in Josiah’s life but as he grew up he started work as a gas fitter.

As war raged in Europe he enlisted in Winchester in Hampshirre and served as a gunner in the 15th Battery of the 36th Brigade Royal Field Artillery, which as part of 2nd Division, was one of the first units sent across to France in 1914.

It’s not known how Josiah died, but we know he was a patient at No 46 Stationary Hospital at Etaples, on the French coast, where he died on May 16, 1918. He was later buried at Etaples Military Cemetery and is remembered today on the St George’s War Memorial in Redditch.

n With thanks to: Remembering Redditch’s Fallen Heroes; http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk; http://www.rememberthefallen.co.uk/

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