HARTLEY, Joseph Pte. 15648

Joseph Hartley enlisted at Chorley on the 21st September 1914 at the age of 31 years and 4 months.

He was married with two children, having married Margaret Burns at Chorley Registry Office on the 31st December 1904; they lived at 37 Preston Street before the war.

Joseph served with the Pals until the 17th April 1917 when he was admitted to 18 CCS (Casualty Clearing Station) at Lapugnoy near Bethune. He was moved to the 1st Canadian General Hospital in Etaples and then to the Welsh Metropolitan Hospital at Whitchurch near Cardiff. It was at Cardiff that they diagnosed his injury as “Myalgia” – commonly known today as “Repetitive Strain Injury”.

He returned to France on the 7th September 1917 with the 7th Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment, but was soon back in hospital. This time he was diagnosed with Trench Foot and spent from the 20th October until the 9th February 1918 at Torbay Hospital in Torquay. He was posted to France for the fourth time, to the East Lancashire Regiment’s Base Camp at Etaples, arriving there on the14th June 1918. His records showed that he was earmarked for return to the 11th Battalion (Chorley Pals) but he was, instead, transferred to the Labour Corps with a new number of 601991.

He saw service with the 117th Company in the Labour Corps and was at Doullens (not far from Serre on the Somme) on the 18th January 1919, ready for return and demobilization in England. He was back in England at Prees Heath in Shropshire on the 20th January, eventually leaving the Army at Nottingham a month later, returning to Chorley.

The 1918 Chorley Electoral Roll had him as an absent voter from 37 Preston Street. Joseph applied for his medals in 1922, receiving them at his home in Chorley on the 11th January 1922.