BYFORD, Joseph

No.9504, Rifleman, Joseph BYFORD
Aged 31

1st Battalion, Rifle Brigade
formerly No. 5103, Suffolk Regiment
Died of his Wounds on Monday, 23rd November 1914

Apparently William John J. Byford (birth reg Risbridge Q2-1883 4A:575, illegitimate).
A John J Byford was baptised in Wickhambrook 16th September 1883, mother Harriet BYFORD, father not named, a farm labourer.
His mother Harriet BYFORD married John MASON in 1884, (John died 1897)

1891 census...Aged 7 he was at Aldersfield Green, Wickhambrook with his mother Harriet [28] born Wickhambrook and stepfather John MASON [80] farm labourer born Essex

1901 census...Aged 18, he was in the 3rd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment in St Peter Port, Guernsey.

1911 census...Aged 27, he was a railway porter, lodging with William and Mary KENNY at 77 Great Howard Street, Liverpool. Grandmother Jane BYFORD with uncle George [26] and cousin Fred BYFORD [14] were at Ashfield Green, Wickhambrook

He enlisted in Bury St. Edmunds in 3rd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment (No. 5103) on 2 January 1900.He had been employed by Mr Bowers in Stradishall. He gave his age as 17 years 8 months 5 feet 8.5 inches tall and weighing 110 lbs, chest 32" to 34". He was embodied in 4th battalion (Militia) at Dover on 2th February 1900, disembodied 3rd July 1901, embodied 24th February 1902, then disembodied on 24th September 1902.
He then enlisted in Rifle Brigade on 31st December 1902, joining them at Gosport on 1st January 1903. Apparent age recorded as 19 years, 8 months, 5 feet 10 inches (177.8 cm)tall , weighing 134 lbs (60.8 kg), chest 34.5" to 36.5" 87.6 to 92.7 cm), blue eyes and light brown hair.

His records are barely legible, but he seems to have had a chequered disciplinary record but for minor infringements before being discharged to the Reserves on 30th January 1911. He served in Egypt from 12th December 1903 to 21st November 1905, and while in Khartoum extended his service to 8 years in the colours. He went on to India until 26th January 1911 and returning to UK for discharge on 27th January 1911. He was mobilised on 10th September 1914, 5 days later he was in France and died 68 days later.

His sole legatee was grandmother Jane Byford. His uncle, at Boyden End, Wickhambrook on 24th March 1919 completed the "living family" form, giving grandmother Jane BYFORD [76] Ashfield Green, Wickhambrook, himself, another uncle William Byford [38] and aunts Ann Southgate [52], Emily Cook [50] and Frances Randlesome ? [45].

The Bury Free Press of 16th January 1915 reported:-
WICKHAMBROOK - DIED FROM WOUNDS - The relatives of Mr. Joseph Byford, No.9504, 1st Batt. Rifle Brigade, have received a letter from the War Office, stating that the above-named soldier, who was serving with the Expeditionary Force in France died from wounds received in action on November 23rd, and expressed the sympathy and regret of the Army Council.

It appears no claim was made for the clasp to the 1914 Star

photo: Pierre Vandervelden

Joseph Byford is buried in Bailleul Communal Cemetery, grave A:4

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details