George Alexander Joseph was a Londoner, the son of a soldier. He was severely wounded by shrapnel near Ypres in September 1914 and as a result he was evacuated home, being treated at Hylands Auxiliary Military Hospital. He died their in November 1914, the first wounded serviceman to die in the Chelmsford area. He was buried at Chelmsford Borough Cemetery in Writtle Road.
JOSEPH, GEORGE ALEXANDER*,
Lance Corporal, 1st Battalion Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)
Today Joseph rests in grave 2081.
The auxiliary military hospital at Hylands House had established in the first few weeks of the war in August 1914 when the owner of the Hylands Estate, Sir Daniel Gooch, Bart., offered the building to the Red Cross. Initially it was used for soldiers of the South Midland Division which was billeted in the Chelmsford area in the early months of the war. Hylands became the headquarters of the 2nd and 3rd South Midland Field Ambulance.
Over 500 patients had been through the wards by October 1914 when the military transferred from Hylands to a hospital established at Oaklands Park, Chelmsford, making way for Belgian wounded. Later that month the hospital received its first British Expeditionary Force eases who had arrived in Harwich. The hospital continued to take ail the heaviest oases from the Middlesex War Hospital, Clacton-on-Sea, and the General Military Hospital, Colchester. The hospital was closed in April 1919.
George was born in Kennington, London in 1892, one of at least six children of soldier William Richard Joseph and Frances Elizabeth Joseph (nee Webb). His parents had married in London in 1880. In 1901 George, his widowed mother and three siblings were living in Kennington.
During the First World War George served as Lance Corporal 660 in the 1st Battalion of the Black Watch (Royal Highlanders). He was badly wounded by shrapnel near Ypres on 27th September 1914 and evacuated home. However, his condition deteriorated and he died at Hylands Auxiliary Military Hospital near Chelmsford on the evening of 14th November 1914. He was 22 years old and was the first wounded serviceman to die in any of the hospitals in the Chelmsford district.
Joseph's funeral took place at Writtle Road Cemetery on 19th November 1914 with full military honours. The coffin was covered with the union flag, and laid on a gun carriage belonging to the 3rd South Midland Royal Field Artillery and was escorted from Hylands by a firing party of the 5th Gloucesters, with reversed arms and the band of the same regiment playing the Dead March. The service was conducted by Rev. W. J. Selby, Senior Chaplain to the South Midland Division which was then garrisoned in the Chelmsford area. At the close three volleys were fired and the buglers sounded the 'Last Post'. The band concluded the impressive ceremony by playing 'Rock of Ages'. The mourners included George's step father, mother, two sisters, and other relatives. Wreaths were sent by Sir Daniel and Lady Gooch, the Sister and Assistant Nursing Staff at Hylands.