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The Men Who Died



71               72

Colour Sergeant Joseph Groom DCM

King's Shropshire Light Infantry 3rd Btn., service no. 9865

Died April, 7th, 1919, aged 23

Buried at Brecon cemetery

Joseph transferred home to be a staff sergeant but was not content and volunteered to serve in German East Africa. He married in Pembroke on March 1917 to Edith Mabel DeLonra of Brecon.

Joseph was sent to East Africa in April 1917. He was wounded again and during twelve months’ service and was made company sergeant major. He came home on two months leave in April 1918 before going out to West Africa. On 17th June 1918, aged 22 he sailed on the ship Akado from Tilbury to Lagos, Nigeria. The King’s Shropshire Light

Infantry had a Nigerian regiment, officered by Europeans with Nigerian troopers. In 1918 the Aduki war or Egba Uprising occurred in Nigeria hence the need to strengthen troops. The rising was over when Joseph arrived. Whilst there he was promoted to regimental company sergeant major and returned home in February 1919.

Whilst on holiday in Welshpool with his wife in 1919, he was taken ill on the 5th of April with blackwater fever, contracted in west Africa. Two days later he died and he was taken with military honours, to Brecon where a full military funeral was held with the band of the Second Battalion, South Wales Borderers in attendance along with troops from the depot in Brecon. Buried at the town's cemetery, the usual volleys were fired over the grave and the Last Post was sounded. Joseph died at the Buck Inn in Welshpool, but his home address was 56, The Struet, Brecon.

Joseph was born in Norbury, Cheshire, in about 1896. He and his older sister, Nellie, lived with the Hopley family there in 1901. By 1911, at fifteen Joseph was a farm groom at Bickley Hall in Cheshire.

He joined the army later that year, as a boy soldier, and later became a lance corporal. When war broke out he was a sergeant, stationed with in Tipperary. He went to France in November 1914 as part of the British Expeditionary Force and was there until the beginning of 1917.

He was ranked as a first class machine gunner, twice wounded and also won the Distinguished Conduct Medal in 1915.

Citation: ‘For conspicuous gallantry on the 9th August 1915, during the attack on the Hooge trenches, when he was ordered to reinforce the captured trenches with a machine gun. In the advance he came under heavy shell fire, the gun was damaged and several of the gun team wounded. Although wounded himself, he bound up his comrades’ wounds, returned to headquarters and reported, and successfully took another gun and team to the firing line.’