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Joseph Josephs

4 Tammuz 5657 (04 July 1897)
30 Sivan 5676 (01 July 1916)

Basic Information

Unique reference:


Date of birth:
4 Tammuz 5657 (04 July 1897)
Place of birth:
Date arrived in Britain:
01 January 1914


Date of death:
30 Sivan 5676 (01 July 1916)
Died in combat?:
Place of death:
Somme, France
Cause of death:
Wounds sustained in the War
Burial place:
Gommecourt cemetery, France



Parents' home:
72 Highbury New Park London


Parmiter's School
Year started:


Adath Yisroel
 < Close personal journey map
Personal Journey map
Joseph Josephs

Joining up, 1914

He was under age and came home one day and said to his parents "Guess what I did today? I joined up!"


Second Lieutenant Joseph Josephs was an English officer of the British Army who died during the First World War.

He was born in 1897, in London, the son of German leather merchant David and Sabina Josephs (née Jacobs), local to the area. At the time of the 1911 census, Josephs was living with his family at 72 Highbury New Park.

Joseph died on 1 July 1916, on the opening day of the Somme Offensive on the Western Front, while serving with the 1/12th (County of London) Battalion (The Rangers), The London Regiment. His battalion suffered heavy casualties in a diversionary attack on the village of Gommecourt, when fatally obstructed by barbed wire that had survived the preliminary British bombardment. With the remnants of "C" Company, Josephs was able to reach German lines and advance towards Nameless Farm.[1] He died while charging a machine gun position,[1] one of more than 500 casualties sustained by the battalion.[2]

Battles Of The Somme - Gommecourt - 01/07/1916

Location: trenches at Hébuterne. German defensive victory. Whilst the main Somme offensive was taking place around Albert, British Third Army was assigned the task of creating a 'diversionary' operation to the north, around Gommecourt.
Whilst intended to eliminate a salient in the German line, the main aims of the attack were to draw German reserves away from the areas further south, and stop the possibility of flanking fire on that attack. The Gommecourt salient was strongly defended by the German Army as it was the furthest west their line had reached.
The attack was assigned to VII Corps, 56th (1st London) Division attacking in the south and 46th (North Midland) Division in the north. Although 56th Division made some initial ground, taking the first two trench lines, the attack of 46th Division was a disaster.
By evening 56th Division were forced to withdraw and the line was back where it had begun. 56th Division began their attack from trenches outside the hamlet of Hébuterne and were to attack south of Gommecourt, coming up behind the village, to attack it from the south-east.
The attack was led by 169th Infantry Brigadeon the left and 168th Infantry Brigade on the right. For 169th Infantry Brigade, 5th London Regiment (London Rifle Brigade) were on the left and 9th London Regiment (Queen Victoria's Rifles) on the right.
16th London Regiment (Queen's Westminster Rifles) were in support and were to move through 9th London Regiment to attack a strong point known as The Quadrilateral. For 168th Infantry Brigade, 12th London Regiment(The Rangers) were on the left and 14th London Regiment (London Scottish) on the right.
The preceding artillery bombardment began at 06.30am and lifted at 07.30am as the leading battalions followed it through the smokescreen into no man's land. 5th London Regiment were soon in possession of their front line trench but 9th London Regiment to their right found the going more difficult, encountering masses of uncut wire and taking heavy casualties as they attempted to push through it.
16th London Regiment (Queen's Westminster Rifles) came up in support and combined parties made it through into the German second line and a detail gained The Quadrilateral. Without further support they had to withdraw.
12th London Regiment (The Rangers also came across uncut wire and only a small part on the left flank made it into the second line, most companies falling back quite quickly following fierce actions at Nameless Farm. 4th London Regiment came up to support them and push the attack forward but again were unable to progress, coming up against heavy machine-gun fire, especially from the position at Nameless Farm.
The right flank of 14th London Regiment lost direction in the smoke and outside of the barrage area was caught up in uncut wire and exposed to machine-gun positions. 13th London Regiment (Kensington) advancing in support of them were cut down in no man's land.
With the failure of the attack to their right, 5th London Regiment came under increasing pressure in the German trenches and 2nd London Regiment were sent from reserve to try and reinforce them, very few men getting through the machine-gun fire. The small parties who had gained the trenches retired in various stages and the last trench being evacuated around 20.30pm.
167th Infantry Brigade being held in reserve during the attack, 7th Middlesex Regimentprovided troops for two raiding parties on Gommecourt Park during the evening of 1st July, whilst 3rd London Regiment had two companies attached to 4th Lincolnshire Regiment opposite Gommecourt Park. 56th Division received 4749 casualties in the action at Gommecourt.



Jeanette Josephs (female)
Miriam Josephs (female)
Josephine Joisephs "Mutte" (female)
Seigmund Sydney "Sigi" (male)
Lilian Leah Josephs (female)
Marcus Edward "Eddie" (male)
Ellis (male)


Mother: Sabiena Jacobs "Bena" (female)
Father: David (male)


Worked in family leather business
Member of family in armed forces:
Brother S.S. (Sigi) Josephs and Cousins, MV Jacobs and P. Jacobs

Military Record

Military service:
London Regt. 2nd Bn.
Date enlisted/conscripted:
Date discharged/death:
01 July 1916
Rank at discharge/death:
2nd Leut.
6th Bttn.
Promoted to Sergeant S/8525 in 2nd Bttn, then gained his commission to 2nd Lt. in November 1915

Roll of Honour

J. JOSEPHS, 01 July 1916

Commonwealth Graves Commission

Second Lieutenant
Date of Death:
Regiment / service:
12th Bn., London Regiment (The Rangers)
Gommecourt British Cemetery No.2, Hebuterne
Grave reference:
I. C. 4.
Additional information:


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London Jews in the First World War - We Were There Too

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