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  • Nottingham Evening Post, 13 January 1915.
Person Details
Joseph Henry was the son of Joseph Birkin and his first wife, Selina (née Hall). Research has traced a Joseph Henry Birkin who was born in Nottingham in 1888, parents Joseph (b. 1866 reg. Nottingham) and Selina (b. Hucknall 1867) who were married in 1887 (Nottingham registration district). Selina died at the age of 21 in 1888 and was buried on 1 May 1888. In 1891, a few years after his wife's death, Joseph Birkin (25), a police constable, described as unmarried, was living at B543 Coppice Road, Nottingham, in the home of his father, Joseph Birkin, a police inspector. Also in the household was Joseph senior's wife, Mary, their grandson Joseph H. Birkin (2), their married daughter Fanny Walker , an assistant teacher, and her husband John Walker, a hosiery assistant. Joseph Henry's father married secondly Mary Hannah Hopkinson in Pinxton, Derbyshire, in 1897 and according to information provided on the 1911 Census they had had four children of whom only three survived. In 1901 Joseph and Mary were living at 2 Poplar Terrace, St Ann's, with their two children Sidney (2) and Hilda (1). Joseph's son by his first marriage, Joseph Henry (12), was still living with his grandparents at B453 The Gardens, Coppice Road, Nottingham, in 1901. His grandfather had retired from the Police and died seven years later in June 1908. By the time of the 1911 Census, his grandfather's widow, Mary, was living with her married daughter, Fanny Walker, at 41 Cooper Street, Nottingham. Joseph Henry's father was living with his second wife and their three children, Sidney, Hilda and Dorothy (5), at 26 Alison Rise, Nottingham. Joseph Henry jnr. has not yet been traced on the 1911 Census but the Register of Soldiers' Effects recorded that he enlisted in the army at Peterborough on 27 May 1905 in which case he may still have been serving with his regiment and so recorded on the Military Census. The same army record gave his occupation on enlistment in 1905 as a labourer and, oddly, his place of birth as 'Thursday Island, Australia.' Although the Nottingham Evening Post recorded that Joseph Henry was 'late City Police' he is not commemorated on the Nottingham City Police war memorial. It is likely that the newspaper made a mistake given that both his father and grandfather of the same name served with the City Police. No family notices of Joseph Henry's death have been found in the local paper.
He joined the army in 1905 and may have served continuously until his death in 1914.
25 Oct 1914
446212 - CWGC Website
Residence Nottingham. Enlisted Peterborough
Alexandra Princess of Wales's Own (Yorkshire Regiment)
2nd Bn Alexandra Princess of Wales's Own (Yorkshire Regiment). The regiment was also known as the 'Green Howards', a title dating back to the mid-1700s. The 2nd Battalion was stationed in Guernsey before the outbreak of war but returned to the UK as part of the 21st Brigade of the 7th Division. Landing at Zeebrugge on 6 October, the Division suffered heavy losses in the First Battle of Ypres. Joseph Henry was probably a regular soldier at the outbreak of war. According to the Medal Rolls Index Card, he disembarked France on 5 October 1914. He died of wounds at Ypres on 25 October and is buried in Ypres Town Cemetery, Belgium (grave ref. A1. 18). He qualified for the 1914 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. According to the Medal Index Roll, his medals were sent to his legatee, his father Joseph Birkin, at '543 Garden Coppice Road Nottingham' (7/12/20). CWGC - History of Ypres Town Cemetery (extract): 'From October 1914 to the summer of 1918, Ypres (now Ieper) formed the centre of a salient held by Commonwealth (and for a while French) forces. From April 1915, the town was bombarded and destroyed more completely than any other town of its size on the western front. Ypres Town Cemetery, close to the Menin Gate, was used from October 1914 to May 1915, and once in 1918. The cemetery contains 145 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, grouped in plots among the civil graves.' (www.cwgc.org)
Death index: Joseph Birkin b. abt 1831 d. 1908 age 77. Probate: Birkin Joseph of 543 Garden Coppice-road Nottingham died 19 June 1908 Probate Nottingham 3 July to Mary Birkin widow. Effects £35. Photograph published 13th January 1915 in the Nottingham Evening Post, caption: 'Private JH Birkin, of the Yorkshires, late City Police, died of wounds at Ypres, October 25th.' Courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918. His father, Joseph Birkin, was named on army records as his legatee.
Remembered on


  • Nottingham Evening Post, 13 January 1915.
    Joseph Henry Birkin - Nottingham Evening Post, 13 January 1915.
  • Buried in Ypres Town Cemetery, Belgium. (www.cwgc.org)
    Joseph Henry Birkin - Buried in Ypres Town Cemetery, Belgium. (www.cwgc.org)