PAGE, Joseph

Private Joseph Page
3923 & 201257 Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)

PageBros

 Photo:  Joseph seated centre, with brother Henry back left and brother Charles back right. Courtesy Roy Page, Joe’s son.

Joseph was born in 1890 in Jacksdale, son of George Sydney Price an ironworks labourer originating from Keysoe, Bedfordshire and his wife Fanny Frances Beeby, born Sheffield, Newhall. In 1901 the family was living at Stone Row, Jacksdale but by 1911 had moved to Albert Avenue.

Joseph’s parents had 14 children, of whom 12 had survived by 1911. Children were Samuel, George, Joseph, Ruth, John Thomas, Henry, Lily, Charles, Albert, William, Frank and Frances. His mother Frances was a Red Cross nurse in WW1 and his sisters Ruth and Lily were also nurses.

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 Photo:  Frances Page, Red Cross Nurse, mother of Joseph.

In 1911 Joseph was employed as an iron works labourer and in 1912 he married Lilian Ward, setting up home in Sedgwick Street, Jacksdale.  Two of their children, Florence Lily born 1915 and Charles Albert Henry Page, born 1919 were baptised at St. Mary’s, Westwood on the same day in 1921 when Joseph’s occupation was given as ex-soldier, indicating that he had no other occupation after leaving the service, most likely due to injuries he had sustained. Tragically their son Charles died in 1922, aged 2 and is buried at St. Mary’s. In 1925 and 1931 sons Willie and Roy were born.

Joseph had enlisted in February 1915  service number 3923, later being re-numbered 201257. His service record has not survived but he was awarded the British War and Victory Medals and also a Silver War Badge, number 410817. In November 1916, Joseph was listed in the Police Gazette as an ‘Absentee from a Territorial Force Unit‘ having deserted at Louth, Lincs on 23rd October 1916. He saw service abroad and was discharged from the Sherwood Foresters on 26th May 1918, aged 28 years and 10 months, no longer physically fit for war service having suffered an impairment since entry into the service. His family have advised us that he was gassed but his Silver War Badge card also states he was suffering from shell shock a condition poorly understood at that time and in some cases attributed to ‘lack of moral fibre’. Some doctors believed it was caused by a physical lesion to the brain possibly due to shock waves or even carbon monoxide poisoning. It seems in Joseph’s case, his shell shock was treated as a ‘wound’, rather than a ‘sickness’ as he had been exposed to shell fire. Joseph and many other servicemen suffered this frightening and debilitating condition which manifested itself with tremors, tinnitus, nervous and unpredictable behaviour, mood sings and severe anxiety. Ten years after the end of WW1, 65,000 veterans were still being treated for shell shock. In 2006, the British Government issued an amnesty and unconditional apology to all the men, who had been executed in WW1, accused of cowardice, desertion, some due to having suffered shell shock.

Joseph died in 1937, aged 47 and his obituary entitled ‘Sudden Death of Jacksdale Resident.’  reports the following:- ‘We regret to report the death of Mr. Joseph Page, of Sedgwick Street, Jacksdale, at 47 years of age. Much sympathy goes out to his widow and three children in their bereavement. Mr. Page was in his cottage garden at 2 o’clock on Tuesday afternoon and was later removed to Nottingham General Hospital. He had a seizure and passed away during the same evening. Deceased was born at Jacksdale and was one of six brothers who served during the Great War. He was badly wounded in 1916 about the head and had been a constant sufferer ever since, having spent years in many hospitals throughout the country. His regiment was the Sherwood Foresters, and he was a stretcher bearer. For a long time he was reported missing and then killed, but fortunately the rumours proved unfounded. The funeral will take place to-morrow (Saturday) afternoon in Westwood St. Mary’s Churchyard.’