Rank, service number and regiment
Lance Corporal 214 Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPLI) East Ontario Regiment
1914, Canada. Precise date unknown.
Willow Cottage, Owl Street, East Lambrook.
Date of death
25 April 1915
Age of death
Circumstances of death
PPLI were engaged in the 2nd Battle of Ypres to stave off German advances through the Ypres Salient and were in trenches in Polygon Wood. The Battalion Records indicate that the soldiers suffered daily artillery bombardment, zeppelins dropping bombs and machine-gun fire. Everyday numbers of wounded and killed were reported. Joseph suffered wounds and died of them on 25th April 1915. Due to the ferocity of the fighting, his body was lost and never recovered.
No known grave. He is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing at Ypres, together with 54,000 others whose bodies were never found between 1914 and August 1917. This covered the 1st and 2nd battles of Ypres. Those lost after that date are commemorated at Tyne Cot Passchendaele Memorial to the Missing.
Date of birth & full name
2 November 1890, as recorded on his Canadian attestation form. JOSEPH WALDEN
Twine-maker (carpets) in the 1911 census, Policeman in Toronto from 1912 to October 1914, when he joined the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary force.
Joseph Walden and Harriett Walden (nee Russell), married in 1870, of Willow Cottage, Owl Street, East Lambrook. Joseph senior was recorded as freeholder, meaning he owned his cottage. He was a foreman in a twine factory connected to carpet making, probably The Parrett Works, Martock.
Spouse & children
Joseph was unmarried
1914/1915 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Joseph emigrated to Canada in 1912. From the Canadian archives, there is an attestation paper from October 1914 relating to Joseph seeking to sign up for the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force. It shows that he had joined the Toronto Police force. The form also tells us that Joseph was unmarried, was nearly 6ft 1” tall, had a 40” chest when expanded, a fair complexion, blue eyes and light-coloured hair. He also had a Union Jack tattoo on his left arm.
Joseph’s Battalion sailed from Canada to England for training on Salisbury Plain and Winchester in late 1914. Would he have had the time to visit his family in East Lambrook? The Regiment sailed to Le Havre and by January 1915 were just south of Ypres.
An officer remarks in the Battalion Diaries on 7 January 1915:
‘just returned from inspecting trenches – all men are over their ankles in water and some up to their knees – draining is impossible until the rain stops as the ground is completely flooded. The enemy are bombarding us with shrapnel shells’.
Photo below shows a map of Polygon Wood, near Ypres, where Joseph lost his life.