Private, 3rd (Militia Battalion) West Yorkshire Regiment – Anglo Boer War
- Queens Mediterranean Medal to 5441 Pte. T. (J). Barraclough, West Yorkshire Regiment
Joseph Barraclough was born in the Parish of Bowling in Bradford, Yorkshire on 16 April 1882, the son of Joshua Barraclough, a Plasterer by trade, and his wife Lindsay. At the time of his baptism in the Wesleyan – Methodist Chapel on 22 October 1883, the family lived at 50 Rydal Street near Bowling.
Eight years on, at the time of the 1891 England census he was, at the age of 8, living with his family at 84 Cotewall Road in Bowling. The ages of his siblings were rather disparate with Ruth (19) and a Worsted Spinner by trade being the oldest. Next came Mary (14) and already pursuing the occupation of her sister, followed by Joseph and with Isaac (6) bringing up the rear.
The Anglo Boer War erupted onto the world stage in October 1899, resulting in the pitting of forces against one another of Boer and Brit. The Boer in the form of the two Dutch-speaking Republics in far-away South Africa against the British Empire. Those who, flushed by patriotism and the fervour of youth, were found to be too young to join up when the call came to join one of the many Imperial Yeomanry outfits being raised; bided their time until, in the instance of Barraclough, he was old enough to offer his services to the Crown.
On 28 August 1900, at the age of 18 years 5 months, Barraclough completed the attestation forms for service with the Militia at Leeds.
Confirming that he resided at 55 Blamey Street, Bradford; he was a Labourer by trade and unmarried. Physically he was 5 feet 6 inches in height with a fresh complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. He had a Dot tattooed on his left forearm by way of distinguishing marks about his person.
Having been found Fit by the Doctor on the same day he was posted to the 3rd Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment and commenced service. It would be instructive at this point to sketch the scenario at play in the Boer War – having experienced a number of reverses in what became known as Black Week, it was apparent to the military authorities that the Boers weren’t going to be the push-over everyone had thought. They were a foe to be reckoned with and the call went out for reinforcements to be dispatched to South Africa to bolster the number of men in the field.
Many regiments doing garrison duty in various parts of the Empire were called upon to set sail for the Cape and, in order to replace them, Militia units were sent out. These units, dispatched to Malta, Gibraltar and Egypt, saw no action and were responsible, where applicable, for the guarding of Boer prisoners in transit to other destinations. For them the Queens Medal awarded was the Mediterranean one, sanctioned by King Edward VII. In total only 4 951 of these medals were awarded with 855 going to Barraclough’s outfit.
Embodied on 16 October 1900, Barraclough and his Battalion were sent to the island of Malta where he was to remain for 14 months before being stationed at Chatham during autumn 1901. The battalion disembodied on 1 October 1902, some four months after the cessation of hostilities.
Returning to civilian life on 5 June 1905, after being declared Permanently Unfit for Further Service, he made his next appearance in the 1911 England census where he and his wife of 2 years, Mary Elizabeth, were Boarders in the house of Beth Wilman at 19 Baxandall Street, Bradford. With them was 1-year-old Harold, their child. Barraclough was a Wool Comber by occupation.
With not much to trouble the news with, Barraclough made his penultimate appearance in the 1939 Register where he was resident at 43 Bengal Street in Bradford. Now aged 57 he was still a Wool Comber by trade. He was joined in the house by his wife, Ann Elizabeth, although it is not known whether this was the Mary Elizabeth we first encountered.
Joseph Barraclough passed away in Bradford in 1960 at the age of 78. His wife had predeceased him in 1945 and his son, his only child, in 1951.