Joseph William Heath Simpson

Joseph William Heath Simpson was born between January and March 1896 in Burslem to Joseph and Ethel Louisa Simpson. Joseph Snr. was born in Whitchurch, Shropshire and Louisa in Burslem. Joseph Jnr. had two sisters.

All we know about his civilian life is that he was one of our original Scouts in 1908 and that according to the 1911 Census, he was working as telegraph messenger for the Post Office and the family were living at 13 Watlands View (same as 1908).

He enlisted in Stoke at the outbreak of the war, spent time on Salisbury Plain, in Basingstoke (January 1915) and was sent overseas from Avonmouth in June 1915 and landed in Gallipoli on the 2nd July 1915. He was injured while serving in the Dardanelles on 8th August 1915.

The Staffordshire Weekly Sentinel Saturday 9th October 1915

Soldiers Wounded

Mrs. Simpson, of Ightfield, 4A, Watlands View, Porthill, has received intimation that her son, Pte. Joseph William Simpson, 7th North Staffords, was wounded in action at the Dardanelles on August 8th, and is now in hospital at alexandria. He enlisted in August of last year.

From Gallipoli he would have gone to hospital in Egypt in August 1915 and finally Mesopotamia in February 1916.
He served as Private Joseph William Simpson, 10328 A Coy 7th Battalion, Prince of Wales’s (North Staffordshire Regiment) and was killed in action on 25th January 1917 in Mesopotamia aged 21 years old.

This is the entry in the war diary for that day –

War Diary 7th Battalion North Staffordshire Regiment

January 25th 1917

The Battalion took part on an assault on the first Turkish line on West Bank of the HHI. The assault was delivered at 9.45 a.m. (after an intense artillery bombardment and behind their barrage) in four waves by A, B & C Coys. in columns of platoons at 50 yds. distance, but no interval between companies. Order of companies from E to W was C, B and A. D Coy was held in reserve finding the platoons to dig communication trenches if the assault was successful. Lewis Gunners and Bombers were sent behind the first wave in order to assist in consolidating. The assault was partially successful, the right Coy having but little difficulty, while the left was held up by machine gun fire and compelled to close in onto the right. At 11 a.m. the enemy counter attacked using bombers freely, and although “A” Coy was practically isolated and partly driven back, and although the Battalion of the right flank of the North Staffs. Regt. gave way, “B” & “C” Coys. held their guard for some considerable time , until the Royal Warwicks came up in support and the line was regained. From that time until 4 p.m. with only one officer, 2nd Lieut. McDowell left, A,B & C Coys held what ground they could until overwhelmed by enemy bombers; they finally evacuated the line and fell back to the position from which the assault had been delivered. Casualties estimated at Killed Two Offices; 2nd Lt Samuel & 2nd Lt. Bradley; Died of wounds one Officer; 2nd Lt Hird, Wounded Officers, Lt. Col. Fleming, A/Capt. Nicolls, 2nd Lt. Fenton, 2nd Lt. McDowell. Missing one Officer 2nd Lt. Thompson.

Casualties were: – Officers
Killed 2
Missing 1
Died of Wounds 1
Wounded 4
Total 8

Other Ranks at first believed to be
Killed 30
Wounded 128
Missing 106
Total 264

After many bodies had been recovered, however, and the Field Ambulances had been visited, the following alterations were made in the Other Ranks Casualty Lists

Killed 29
Wounded 163
Missing 72
Total 264

K. 55
W. 163
M. 46
T. 264 1

Simpson March 17th 1917

Joseph Simpson in the Weekly Sentinel Saturday 17th March 1917 2

The Staffordshire Weekly Sentinel Saturday 17th March 1917


Private J. W. Simpson, Stoke-on-Trent

News has reached Mrs. Simpson, 4a, Watlands View, Porthill, that her son, Pte. Joseph Wm. Simpson, North Staffs Reg., has been wounded in action. He is 21 years of age, and enlisted at the outbreak of war. He has previously been wounded in action. 3

The Staffordshire Weekly Sentinel Saturday 14th April 1917

Wounded and Missing

Mrs. Simpson, 4a, Watlands View, Porthill, has received official notification that her son, Pte. Joseph W. Simpson, of the North Staffordshire Regiment, has been wounded and is missing. He enlisted at the outbreak of war and has previously been wounded. Any news concerning him will be welcomed by his mother.

Joseph William Heath Simpson was awarded the 1914 – 15 Star, the British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal. He is commemorated on the Basra, Iraq, Memorial, on the font in the Wolstanton United Reform Church, Watlands View, Porthill 4 and on our Memorial.

Link to his CWGC commemoration.

image4 (Large)

The North Staffs panel of the Basra Memorial

image3 (Large)


memorial 3The Basra Memorial in its original position

memorial 1Basra Memorial in its current location 6

  1. War Diary extract courtesy of the Staffordshire Regiment Museum
  2. Sentinel photo courtesy of Geoff Mayer
  3. Sentinel clipping courtesy of Geoff Mayer
  4. ‘Wolstanton Congregational / United Reform Church: A Century of Service 1902 -2002′ by Margaret and Gwyn Jones
  5. Basra Memorial photos courtesy of the Staffordshire Regiment Museum
  6. Basra Memorial photos courtesy of Vern Littley