Private 30173 Joseph Allmark

Allmark Joseph 96 388x600

Killed in Action on Thursday, 4th October 1917, age 28.
Buried in Grave XII. A. 12. at Harlebeke New British Cemetery, Harelbeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

8th Bn., Devonshire Regiment. 20th Brigade of 7th Division.
Formerly 24559 South Staffs Regiment.

Son of George and Susannah Allmark, of 102, Tipton Road, Tividale, Staffs
Born: Rowley Regis, Enlisted: Lichfield, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the St. Augustine's Memorial, and Tividale Roll of Honour.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/485743/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
117 Gilbert Street, Tividale, Tipton, Staffs.
George H. Allmark (50, Coal Miner, born Rowley Regis), his wife Sussannah (48, born Cookley), and their 9 children: George H. (23, Galvaniser, born Rowley Regis), Mary A. (21, born Rowley Regis), Thomas (18, Brickworks Labourer, born Rowley Regis), Rosannah (16, Brickworks Machine Presser, born Rowley Regis), Sarah (14, born Rowley Regis), Joseph (12, born Rowley Regis), Ada (10, born Rowley Regis), David (7, born Rowley Regis), and James (4, born Rowley Regis).

1911 Census
117 Gilbert Street, Tividale, Tipton, Staffs.
George H. Allmark (59, Coal Miner, born Rowley Regis), his wife Sussannah (58, born Cookley), and 5 of their 7 surviving children of 11: Sarah Ann (24, Brickyard Worker, born Rowley Regis), Joseph (22, Brickyard Labourer, born Rowley Regis), Ada (20, Brickyard Worker, born Rowley Regis), David (18, Brickyard Worker, born Rowley Regis), and James (16, Brickyard Worker, born Rowley Regis).

Personal Data

After Joseph's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £1/16/9d (1 pounds, 16 shillings and 9 pence); this was paid to his father, George H., in April 1918. His War Gratuity was £6/0/0d (6 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his father in December 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Joseph had enlisted in May 1916.

Action resulting in his death

The 7th Division was deployed in the Ypres area for most of autumn 1917. The Division moved to Broodseinde where, on 4th October, all 3 Brigades were involved in a successful ‘bite and hold’ attack – the Battle of Broodseinde. Objectives were swiftly taken, and casualties were relatively light. This was one of the ‘black days’ for the German army.

The contribution of the 8th Devons was to be the capture of high ground about a mile south-east of Zonnebeke giving observation over the Heutebeek valley. The German defence consisted of concrete blockhouses and small posts, with stronger defence in the rear lines.

The 8/Devons assault began at 6.00am on 4th October under a creeping barrage. The Germans were also planning to attack at 8.00am, so our bombardment caught their massed troops by surprise, causing heavy casualties. The Devons’ attack met little resistance and their objective of the high-ground was achieved by 8.10am. They dug-in and consolidated, and other battalions of the 7th Division continued the advance. The Devons held this position until relieved 4 days later.

Overall, the Battle of Broodseinde had been a significant success, but the onset of bad weather made further success harder to achieve.

The 8/Devons had 45 men killed on 4th October, the War Diary notes that nearly all the casualties were due to shell fire before or after the attack, and very few during the attack.

Joseph was originally buried at Koekuithoek German Military Cemetery which is about 5 miles from Polygon Wood, the location of 7th Division during the Battle of Broodseinde on 4th October 1917. This suggests that Joseph was a Prisoner of War when he died.

Harlebeke New British Cemetery was made after the Armistice when graves were brought in from the surrounding battlefields. Joseph was re-buried in Plot XII which was created in 1924 from German cemeteries in Belgium. Joseph was identified by his 'Devons' shoulder titles, and his soldier's number 30173 marked and still visible on his boots.

Newspaper Cuttings

Birmingham Daily Post 6th November 1917
The following particulars of Midlands men killed in the war have been supplied by relatives.
Private J. Allmark, of Tipton Road, Tividale, of the Devonshire Regiment, was single, aged 29, and prior to enlisting twelve months ago was employed at the brickworks of Mr. T. Crew, Dudley Road, Tividale.