Home > Memories > A Brave Lad From A Big Family

A Brave Lad From A Big Family

Back in 1911 Joe Towns was a pit deputy at Ushaw Moor and twenty years into a marriage to Leadgate born Gertrude. They were living at 5 West Terrace, Ushaw Moor, with their nine children, namely:

Thomas Matthew [aged 19], Mary Agnes [18], Joseph Richard [16], Louisa [14], Aloysius [15], Robert Gerard [9], Annie [8], Lily Monica [6], and John [2].

By autumn 1915 Joseph Richard Towns was a Petty Officer and won the Distinguish Service Medal for gallantry and courageous conduct at Cape Helles, together with Petty Officer M Convery of Sherburn Colliery.

At midnight they crept to within 15 -20 yards of enemy trenches, which were filled with dead bodies but had  been evacuated by Turks. Towns and Convery removed the bodies and built a barricade of sandbags, despite heavy enemy firing. 

It seems to me that the two Petty Officers did not know what the situation was when they started on their way and were certainly very, very, brave in their determination to find out and do something about it!

A relative of mine, Joseph Hope of Ushaw Moor, was killed by machine gun fire at that time, and not far from that action, but was not involved in this particular incident.



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