102941 PTE. J. PEARSON. R.G.A.
Joseph Pearson was born on 16 May 1886 in Bamber Bridge. His father was Joseph Pearson (b. 1863 in Preston), a cotton weaver. His mother was Ellen Yates (b. 1862 in the School Lane area of Bamber Bridge). Joseph and Ellen were married at Brownedge St Mary’s on 10 September 1881 and they had eight children: John Thomas (b. 1882), Lawrence (b. 1884), then Joseph, then Agnes (b. 1888), Wilfred (1891-93), Wilfred Benedict (b. 1893), Philomena (b. 1896) and finally Monica (b. 1898). In 1911, Joe was working as a grocer’s assistant at the Co-op and was living as a lodger at 210 Station Road, but in 1915 he married Ann Simmons (b. 1887 in Turton, near Bolton) and the family moved to 24 St Mary’s Road, which is where they were living when Joe enlisted, on 11 December 1915. Shortly afterwards they moved to 11 Collins Road, and they had a son, Herbert, born on 4 June 1916.
Joe enlisted with the Royal Garrison Artillery and was assigned service number 102941. He was 5’ 8½” tall and weighed 131lbs. He was mobilised on 19 June 1916 (just after his son was born) and spent the next year on home service. He landed in France on 27 July 1917 and was posted to 16th Siege Battery, with whom he served for the following year. Joe was home for two weeks’ leave from 10-24 March 1918 so when he returned to his battery the Germans had just launched their Spring Offensive. At the beginning of 1918, 16th Siege Bty had been taken under command of 8th Brigade RGA so their War Diary contains information about where Joe served his final months. 8th Brigade had 4 siege batteries: 90th, 235th, 16th and 290th. In March 1918, 16th and 290th were temporarily attached to 40th Brigade and supporting the Belgian army, but by the middle of May they were back in 8th Brigade at Langemark. The War Diary is not the most helpful, being mainly a list of map references and total numbers of shells fired (mainly at night) by each battery. They are in the Zonnebeke-Poelcapelle-Westhoek area, east of Ypres. In July they are working in cooperation with 49th Divisional Artillery but there is no specific, large scale operation at that time, just the usual harassment, in preparation for the major push which would come in August. Joe was killed in action on 4 July 1918. He was 32 years old.
Service Number: 102941
Date of Death: 04/07/1918
Regiment/Service: Royal Garrison Artillery, 16th Siege Bty.
Cemetery/memorial reference: II. G. 2.
Cemetery: GWALIA CEMETERY
Additional Information: Son of Joseph and Helen Pearson; husband of Ann Pearson, of 11 Collins Road, Bamber Bridge, Preston.
After the War, Ann remarried, to Daniel Rainford (b. 1892 in Bamber Bridge). However, further tragedy was to ensue. Her son, Herbert, (the babe in arms in the photo above) married in 1940 to Winifred Wilkinson, and then joined the army. He was 4981460 Pte. H. Pearson, of 14th Battalion, The Sherwood Foresters (Notts. and Derby Regiment). He was killed at Anzio on 1 March 1944.
Herbert Pearson, 1916-1944