A FORTNIGHT ago we published a selection of photographs from Gainford, which have proven very popular. One of the pictures showed three soldiers and bore the caption “Joe Hauxwell”.

Surprisingly, lots of people – including David Oliver and David Pullan – magnified the cap badges to try to work out the regiments the men were serving in. Sadly, just like with our old cars, there was no unanimous answer with people suggesting the Royal Engineers, the Border Regiment and the Yorks and Lancs Regiment most frequently.

However, Allan Thompson wondered if one of the men could be the Joe Hauxwell who appears in his family tree. This Joe Hauxwell was born in Gainford in 1893, the eldest of Christopher and Annie Hauxwell’s six children. He went to work on the railway as a labourer and when he enlisted on September 18, 1914, for the Yorkshire Regiment he gave his address as 2 Railway Cottages, Langley Park, and said he was married to Mary Ellen.

Loading article content

Unfortunately, ill health dogged Joe. After a month, he was discharged from the Yorkshires as unfit for military service. Clearly determined, he joined the Army Service Corps in 1915 but was again discharged as unfit.

However, by the end of the war he was a sapper in the Royal Engineers with Railway Company 113 – one of the 45 companies engaged in building railways in theatres of war all across Europe.

But his ill health continued. He died on January 5, 1919, at 50, Lansdowne Street, Darlington of “cardiac failure and pulmonary TB” with Mary Ellen at his side.