HUNTON, Joseph Sgt. 15272

Joseph Hunton enlisted on the 16th September 1914, being promoted to Lance Corporal on the 4th December. He was transferred to the 12th (Reserve) Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment before the Chorley Pals left the town for Caernarvon in February 1915.

Joseph was promoted to Corporal on the 12th March 1915 and went on a number of courses at Aldershot and Newport in November 1915, being promoted to Assistant Instructor in Physical Training and Bayonet drill on the 28th January 1916 (perhaps his proficiency in the same was the reason for his transfer out of the Pals).

He was promoted to Lance Sergeant and then acting Sergeant on the 7th March 1916, being officially transferred to the 75th Training Reserve Battalion at Prees Heath in Shropshire on the 1st September 1916. Just before Christmas he was posted to the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment as Corporal 32627, embarking for France on Christmas Day with the 11th Battalion; upon reaching France he was posted to the 7th (Service) Battalion, joining ‘A’ Company on the 27th January 1917. His Battalion were resting and training in preparation for the start of the third battle of Ypres in June.

However, he was admitted to hospital in late April with Enteritis, being shipped back to England and was eventually discharged from the 2nd Western General Hospital in Manchester on the 2nd June; he then spent a month’s leave in Chorley, fortunately missing the Battle of Messines which was raging in Belgium. He was not shipped back to France as he caught Influenza in October 1917, spending two weeks at Dovercourt Hospital near Harwich.

He did return to France, but after the Armistice had been signed – arriving on the Continent on the 22nd November 1918. Some two weeks later he was hospitalised again, this time at No. 7 General Hospital at Wimereux on the Channel Coast, suffering from Balanitis (an infection affecting the groin area). He left hospital in France on the 1st February 1919, being discharged from the Army four days later at Prees Heath.

Joseph Hunton was born in Chorley in 1894, one of four boys (his brother Thomas served in the Pals) and a girl. They lived with his parents on Market Street in Chorley where his father ran a Butcher’s shop at number 88; the family attended Park Road Methodist Church. Joseph married Florrie Wass at Adlington Methodist Church in 1919, eventually having three children.