Private 76900 Joseph Hooley.
15THBrigade 5thDivision 4 Corps 3rdArmy.
Part of the II Corps retired through this area during the Retreat from Mons in August 1914, and in October 1918, Commonwealth forces returned during the Advance to Victory.
According to the 1901 census Joseph lived at 128 Haig Lane Poynton with his father and mother Thomas and Jane, 3 brothers John, Edward, and Thomas, and 4 sisters, Sarah, Hannah, Hilda, and Elizabeth, although by the time of his death in 1918 he was a married man living at EdgeView, Higher Poynton.
Official news has been received by Mrs. A Hooley that her husband Private Joseph Hooley has been killed in action by shrapnel received on the western front on October 23rd. He was 24 years of age and joined the colours so recently as June 12thof this year, when after a course of training he was drafted out to France and had only been in the front line a fortnight when he meet his death. Previous to this he was employed at Lord Vernon’s collieries, and was connected to the Green Close chapel, Shrigley.
The final advance to Picardy
The final advance in the Picardy region of France had started on 17 October, and in the next step, the British 5th Division was tasked with the capture of the village of Beaurain, some 25 kilometres east of the town of Cambrai.
The Battalion assembled for the attack at midnight on the 22nd/23rd. As the men were getting into position the enemy laid down a heavy barrage which caused many casualties. However, although still being shelled by the Germans, all the men were in position by 2.00am.
At 3.20am on the 23rdOctober ,1918 the 1stCheshires along with the 1stBattalion the Bedfordshire Regiment advanced, with the 1stNorfolk’s in reserve. The Germans opened up with heavy artillery and machine gun fire and in some cases the enemy left their trenches and charged with fixed bayonets. These were soon dealt with by the leading waves.
The Cheshires suffered heavy casualties by the many machine guns located in a sunken lane in no man’s land. When the men got in to the lane they captured 50 prisoners and 5 machine guns. An enemy stronghold located in a quarry now held up their advance. A platoon of the Cheshire men managed to get behind this outpost unseen whilst their comrades drew the enemy fire. The platoon rushed the German position and silenced the enemy machine guns.
By 7.30am Beaurain had fallen after hours of savage fighting. Captured Germans revealed the attack was expected and prepared for, and artillery had been increased in their sector. They were also told to “Hold on to the last”.
Casualties for the day were,
1 officer killed 5 wounded
34 men killed 172 wounded,
Many of these men were to later die of their wounds .Joseph was one of the many men killed by a shell. He was buried in a battle field grave near to where he fell and was exhumed in 1919 and reburied at Romeries.
Joseph had another brother in the Regiment Private Edward Hooley. He enlisted on August 5th, 1914 and was present at the retreat from Mons He saw service in Egypt and Palestine being at the capture of Jerusalem. He was posted back to France on July 1st, 1918 and was involved in the capture of Kemmel Hill. Edward survived the war
Cheshire County Memorial Project would like to thank Phil Underwood for compiling this page on Joseph.