Joseph Summerfield



Village memories: View towards Loudwater (Picture from SWOP website)

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RIFLEMAN 330884 1ST /8TH BATTALION HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT
KILLED IN ACTION ON THURSDAY 19TH APRIL 1917 AGED 20YRS
REMEMBERED WITH HONOUR GAZA WAR CEMETERY,ISRAEL
GRAVE REF XX1.E9

Joseph was born in 1898 in Loudwater, Buckinghamshire. He was the son of Thomas & Lizzie Summerfield. His father was a labourer. In 1901 the family were living in Clay lane, Tring Rd Wendover, Bucks. Joseph’s known siblings were Samuel, Alfred, Baden, Edward, Percy, Lizzie and Georgina. From the 1911 Census we know that the parents had 10 children and that 7 were still living at this time. Georgina also died in 1915 aged 5yrs. The family were living at Heath End, Flackwell Heath when this Census was taken.
Joseph enlisted at Newport on the Isle of Wight. The Rifles withdrew from the Gallipoli campaign in 1915 and sailed to Alexandria. The aim was to protect the Suez Canal by driving the Turks out of Sinai and back up through Palestine.
In February 1917 the Rifles crossed the 145miles of the Sinai Desert in full marching order in extreme heat. They were in reserve for the First Battle of Gaza in March but the chance was lost to gain control and the Second battle of Gaza began on 17th April. The Rifles managed to advance on Dumb Bell Ridge unopposed and held the crest of the Sheik Abbas Ridge until the morning of the 19th April. They went over the top at 7.30 am and were attacked by machine gun fire. There was almost no cover and there were many casualties. Many men were pinned down and unable to move. The sweeping machine guns took their toll.
This Battle was a costly failure. The final death toll for the Rifles was 8 officers and 186 men, mostly from “C” and “D” Companies on the left. One of those killed was Joseph Summerfield.
Also killed in this battle were James Payne, Owen Rogers( both remembered on the Flackwell Heath and Little Marlow Memorials) and two other local lads Leonard Southam and Percy Twitchen who are remembered on the Little Marlow Memorial. These men are also remembered on the I.OW in the Chapel of St Nicholas, Carisbrooke Castle.
Joseph’s brother Samuel also died in WW1 and is remembered on the Flackwell Heath Memorial. Both brothers are remembered on the Wycombe Hospital Memorial plaque.
On the Roll of Honour in Little Marlow church are the names of Alfred, Baden, and Thomas Summerfield as well as Joseph.

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