Rifleman 12046 Joseph Henry Lemm

Killed in Action on Friday, 15th September 1916, age 26.
Commemorated on Pier and Face 13 A and 13 B of Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.

9th Bn., King's Royal Rifle Corps. 41st Brigade of 14th Division.

Son of Mr James Lemm and the late Mrs Mary A. Lemm, of Cannon Street, Willenhall.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Wolverhampton, Resident: Unknown.

First landed France & Flanders, 9th February 1916.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives survived and transcribed.

Not commemorated on any Tipton memorial.
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/800218/

Genealogical Data

1891 Census
22 Albert Street, Coseley
James Lemm (44, Coal Miner - Hewer, born Tipton), his wife Mary A. (44, born Sedgley), and their children: Harriett (14, born Sedgley), Elizabeth (11, born Tipton), Edward (7, born Sedgley) and Sarah (5, born Sedgley).

1901 Census
80 Temple Street, Bilston
James Lemm (53, Coal Miner - Hewer, born Tipton), his wife Mary A. (55, born Tipton), and their children: Harriett (26, born Bilston), Lizzie (23, born Bilston), Edward (18, born Bilston), Sarah B. (14, born Bilston) and Joseph H. (9, born Bilston).

1911 Census
2 Court, 7 House, Cannon Street, Willenhall.
James Lemm (Widower, age 60, born Bilston) and two of his children: Edward (29, Coal Hewer, born Princes End), and Harry (19, Striker, born Princes End).

Personal Data

Joseph enlisted with the King's Royal Rifles (KRRC) on 7th September 1914 at Wolverhampton, he was 21 years and 53 days old. He was 5 feet 3 inches tall with a 34-inch chest, weighed 118 pounds, with good physical development. He had a fresh complexion, grey eyes and brown hair, and was employed as a Blacksmith's Striker.

Initially Joseph was with the Depot Battalion in Winchester until 16th October 1914 when he transferred to the 6th Battalion based in Sheerness. Whilst still in training, he was sentenced to 28 days detention for 1) highly improper conduct and 2) not complying with an order. He was in detention from 1st January 1916 until 20th January when his sentence was remitted.

Joseph landed in France on 9th February 1916, and joined the 9th Battalion, KRRC, on 20th February 1916. On 29th April 1916 he was sentenced to 16 days Field Punishment No.1 for hesitation to obey an order. From 3rd July to 10th July 1916, he was in 43 Field Ambulance suffering from scabies.

After Joseph's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £0/6/10d (6 shillings and 10 pence); this was paid to his sister and sole legatee, Sarah B. Taylor, in August 1917. His War Gratuity was £11/10/0d (11 pounds and 10 shillings), this was also paid to his sister in February 1920. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Joseph had enlisted in approximately August 1914.

Action resulting in his death

The 9th Battalion of King's Royal Rifle Corps was one of the four Battalions in 42nd Brigade of the 14th (Light) Division. On 15th September the 42nd Brigade was the second wave of the 14th Division attack to the east of Delville Wood, the opening day of the Battle of Flers Courcellette. Here, in an area known as 'The Brewery', Captain Harold Mortimore took tank 'D1' (Daredevil) into action at 5.15 am in advance of the 14th (Light) Division attack, the first tank ever to be taken into battle.

The 42nd Brigade had taken casualties before they took over the attack, and these continued as they pushed the attack forward. Their objective was to pass to the east of Flers and take the village of Gueudecourt, a distance of almost 4 miles for the day's advance. Despite 2nd Lt. Arthur Blower's tank 'D5' (Dolphin) leading the way, they were only able to consolidate their advance on a line to the east of Flers - still an impressive advance.

During this momentous attack, Private Joseph Lemm of the 9th King's Royal Rifle Corps was to lose his life. His body was never identified, and he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.

Newspaper Cuttings