Joseph Waterton



Name: Joseph Charles Edward Mary John Reginald Waterton

25th February 1892 - 18th February 1915

Place of Birth: Chelsea

Occupation: Gentleman

Division: 5th Battalion

Regiment: Bedfordshire Regiment

Rank: Second Lieutenant

Buried: A. 21, Campton And Shefford Cemetery, Shefford, England

Joseph Waterton was born in Chelsea on 25th February 1892. Joseph was the eldest son of Charles Waterton, a gentleman and Josephina Rock. He was educated at Stonyhurst and went to Christ Church in 1911-12. The family lived at Wadhurst before moving to Arlesey in 1914. They lived at Arlesey Bury and took an active part in local affairs. Joseph, along with his three brothers was a keen cricketer and played in the North Hertfordshire Cricket League for the Arlesey cricket club. The family were very generous supporters of the club.


Joseph started his service in the Army on 11th October 1914. Joseph was killed in a motor car collision while riding a motor bike on the road between Cambridge and Newmarket. Such was the force of the impact that Joseph’s motorbike was wedged into the bonnet of the car, which had turned around to face the opposite direction from which it was originally travelling. Joseph was hurled a dozen yards away and died within minutes of the accident happening. It seems that Joseph was heading towards the oncoming vehicle in the middle of the road, ignoring the cars horn. Joseph then swerved directly in to the path of the car. Witnesses reported that Joseph was “driving very fast with his head down”. Right before impact he seemed to sense the danger and tried to pull back on to the correct side of the road. Joseph suffered several fractures to his skull, both legs were fractured and his left thigh was fractured. All the bones in his face were broken.

The jury at the inquest recorded a verdict of “Accidental Death”, exonerating the driver of the car of all blame. Joseph died intestate, a bachelor whose Father had already died, and left unsettled property to the value of £50, 850 (£5.5M in today’s money!).


Joseph’s funeral took place at St Francis Roman Catholic Church in Shefford, where the family worshipped. The body was conveyed by train from Newmarket to Arlesey, with full military honours. The oak coffin was covered with the Union Flag, upon which rested the deceased’s hat and sword. A solemn Requiem Mass was said by the very Rev L. W. Youens, rector of St Francis. After the service the coffin was carried by eight members of the 5th Bedfordshire Regiment to the moss lined and bricked grave at Campton Road Cemetery where Joseph was laid to rest.


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