Our People - Joseph Ainsworth
31 May 1919
#11325 Private Joseph Ainsworth
6th (Service) Battalion, King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment)
38th Brigade, 13th (Western) Division
Died 31 May 1919 age 20
Walton-le-Dale (Our Lady and St.Patrick) R.C. Churchyard, Lancashire, UK. Ref: B.57
Son of Mrs. Mary Ann Ainsworth, of 23, Chorley Rd., Walton-le-Dale, Preston.
INSCRIPTION: "REST IN PEACE"
Joseph Ainsworth was born 26 August 1896 in Goosnargh to Mary-Ann Ainsworth and her late husband. In 1911 he was living with his mother at 23 Chorley Road, Walton-le-Dale, and his three sisters and two brothers, Mary Alice (31) born Preston - who has no listed trade or occupation, but seems to have been helping her mother at home, Ann born Claughton (25) a Weaver. Christopher (20) born Goosnargh a labourer, Edward (17) a Weaver born Goosnargh (who was also to die in the war) and Winnifred (10), born Walton-le-Dale. In Civilian life, Joseph was employed as a Sap Peacer in the cardroom at Higher Walton Mill.
Some interesting documents still survive from Joseph's service record, mainly pertaining to his various medical conditions that he suffered throughout his service. He enlisted 11 August 1914 for the duration of the war.
Joseph was vaccinated 1 April 1915 and Inocculated 6 May 1915. He was admitted to hospital in Gallipoli 30 November 1915. He then went to Basra via Port Said and invalided to India by H.S. Varela on 18 December 1916. He seems to have contracted Malaria straight away, being admitted to hospital 25 December 1916. He spent the next few years in India, returning home 10 February 1919.
Physically, he was described as being 5 feet 4 inches tall, weighed in at 102 ibs and had a chest expansion of 34 inches with an expansion of 2 inches. His eyesight tests show that he had some visual impairment. His right eye had a score of 6/18 which means that he had relatively good visual acuity but a significantly reduced field of vision. His left eye scored 6/24 which means he had a combination of slightly reduced visual acuity and a reduced field of vision or having blurriness or cloudiness in his central vision
On Army Form B 179a, 'STATEMENT BY A SOLDIER CONCERNING HIS OWN CASE', Joseph has given us some rich information about his service. He served in the Dardanelles for 6 months, Mesopotamia for 18 months, India for 12 months and Salonica for 2 months. He wrote,
Joseph goes on to say that he had treatment at "29th B H Salonica I had treatment for Rimattisiam + Nazal Cattar." He states that he was fit before his army service. The document was signed in Reading War Hospital 8 March 1919. Joseph spent a total of 28 days in Reading War Hospital from 10 February 1919 to 10 March 1919 suffering from Enteritis. He was discharged to the dispersal hospital in Oxford. He was officially transferred to Class "Z" of the Reserves 9 April 1919 and died at home 31 May 1919.
Joseph also appears on the Walton-le-Dale St.Leonard's C.E. WW1 Plaque and the Walton-le-Dale - Our Lady and St.Patricks R.C. Crucifix. He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal
Joseph Ainsworth's grave in the churchyard of Our Lady and St. Patrick in Walton-le-Dale.
Image © Charles O'Donnell.