RFA West Lancs Bdes
680970 GNR. J. SHARPLES. R.F.A.
Joseph Sharples was born on 3 March 1893 in Longraidge, and baptised there on 25 March. His father was also Joseph Sharples (b. 1856 in Brindle), a stationary engine driver. His mother was Elizabeth Seed (b. 1857 in Thornley). Joe and Elizabeth were married at Longridge, St Lawrence on Christmas Eve, 1884. They had 11 children, 8 of whom survived infancy: Nellie (b. 1886), Richard (b. 1888), Annie (b. 1890), William (b. 1891), then Joseph jnr, then Thomas (b. 1897) and finally Grace (b. 1899). Joe snr died in 1900, leaving Elizabeth to bring up the 8 children on her own, though later her sister Nellie Seed moved into the house with them. So in 1911, Elizabeth, her sister Nellie, and the eight children were living at 58 Preston Road, Longridge. Joe jnr was then 17 and was working as a bobbin turner in a bobbin factory.
Joe was 21 when War broke out and he enlisted the following year, 1915. He was assigned service number 680970 and posted to “B” Battery of 286 Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. This was part of the divisional artillery for 57th (2nd West Lancashire) Division. 57th Division landed in France in February 1917 and they were deployed in the first half of 1917 in the defence of Armentières. On 2 May 1917 the War Diary reports that “a raiding party of the enemy, strength unknown, attempted to enter our trenches… but were at once caught in our barrage fire and withdrew”. Four men from “B” Bty were killed that day, among them was Joseph Sharples. He was 24 years old.
Service No: 680970
Date of Death: 02/05/1917
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery, “B” Bty, 286 Bde.
Cemetery/memorial reference: VIII. B. 3.
Cemetery/Memorial: CITE BONJEAN MILITARY CEMETERY, ARMENTIERES