Joseph Ernest Serjeant

Joseph Ernest Serjeant
Born at Merryland, St Ives in 1893, Joseph was the only son of Edward and Susan (née Sindell). Joseph had five sisters. In 1901 the family ran a fishmonger's business from their home in Merryland. 

The British Army was part of the family tradition. Joseph's father and three of his uncles served in the Boer War. By March 1911 Joseph was a newly-joined Private in the Grenadier Guards, aged 18yrs and stationed at The Guards Depot, Caterham, Surrey. He was certainly in good company in one of the oldest and most prestigious of Army regiments, standing 6ft 4ins in his stocking soles.

Joseph landed in France on 23 November 1914, part of the 4th Battalion, Grenadier Guards. He fought in some of the fiercest battle of 1915.

Grenadier Guards WW1
Grenadier Guards just before departing for France
On Sunday 12 December 1915 Joseph was walking along the front trenches. He passed an opening in the protective sandbags stacked on top of the trench wall. It's likely a German sniper had his sights trained on this spot, awaiting a victim. Joseph's height made him even more of a target. He was shot through the head and killed immediately, aged 22yrs. Joseph has no known grave and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial, on his father's burial plot in St Ives Cemetery and on a memorial in St Ives Parish Church.

It was some time before news of Joseph's death reached St Ives, published by the Hunts Post on 3 March 1916. This was probably because the family had moved to Cambridge by the time of his death. Thus, Joseph is also remembered on Cambridge Guildhall War Memorial and Cherry Hinton War Memorial.

Some of the official records incorrectly show Joseph's surname as Sergeant or Searjeant. 

Do you have a photograph of Joseph or any additional information? If so, pease get in touch via the make contact page.

Source materials
Click any of the links below to view original source materials.
1901 Census
1911 Census
Medal Rolls Index Card
Commonwealth War Graves Register
Commemorative Certificate

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