Lance Corporal Joshua Gardiner
30998 1st Battalion East Surrey Regiment
who died on 6 November 1917
Joshua was born on 7 January 1882 in Evington. He was one of five children born to Henry and Jane (nee Bore) Gardiner from Polstead, Suffolk. He was baptised St Denys’ Church, Evington on 12 August 1883. At the time of Joshua’s birth Henry was working as a groom and gardener. Joshua had four older siblings, twins Sarah Jane and Elizabeth Kate born about 1877, George born about 1879 and William born about 1880. In 1884 his younger brother Thomas was born but sadly mother Jane died the following year and was buried in St Denys’ churchyard.
By 1901 widower Henry Gardiner had moved to Oadby and was farming at Cottage Farm. Glen Road (although the farm was accessed via Fludes Lane. Living with him were Elizabeth, who was keeping house, William , who was working the farm and Thomas who was working as a shoe hand. At some point after Jane’s death Joshua had moved to live with an aunt and uncle Sarah Kate (nee Gardiner) and Daniel Gooch. The 1901 census recorded him as residing at 13 Bruton St, London where his aunt and uncle worked as house keepers. This very grand address in London’s Mayfair is two doors away from where Queen Elizabeth II was born in 1926. At this time Joshua’s occupation was given as a student at King’s College.
By 1911 Joshua was working as a municipal clerk, still living with his aunt and uncle who were now keeping house at 3 Oxford Terrace, West Paddington
Bruton Street, London
Henry Gardiner at Cottage Farm in 1908 with his grand-daughters Alice and Winifred. Joshua’s estate of £1085 8s was left to his father.
Parchmore Road, Thornton Heath was Joshua’s home when he enlisted.
Joshua enlisted in the East Surrey Regiment at Kingston upon Thames on 10 November 1916. At the time he was living at 4 Parchmore Road, Thornton Heath, Surrey. His service number, 3/30998 suggests that he was originally in the 3rd Reserve Battalion. After completion of basic training Joshua would have been posted to the 1st Battalion as a replacement draft sometime during 1917.
During the spring of 1917 the 1st Battalion, East Surrey Regiment saw action at Vimy Ridge and at the Battle of Scarpe.
Cecil CP Lawson’s painting of men crossing Sanctuary Wood 1916-1918
The ruins of Polderhoek Chateau, the objective of the action in which Joshua died
The war diary of the 1st East Surreys describes how during the Battle of Third Ypres on 5 November, the troops moved from Ridgewood to the front line at Velderhoek via Shrapnel Corner on the Zillerbeke-Plumer Track (a plank road) and along a duck board track through Sanctuary Wood. The attack on Polderhoek Chateau was to begin at 6am the following morning. Sadly Joshua Gardiner was among six men wounded by shrapnel on the eve of the attack. He died of wounds on 6 November at a casualty clearing station.
Joshua Gardiner is Buried with Honour at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium. The rank on his headstone is given as Private but also appears as Lance Corporal in army documentation.
Joshua Gardiner is one of several First World War casualties whose family lived in Oadby but whose name does not appear on the war memorial.
Joshua Gardiner’s headstone at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Poperinge, Belgium.
Family photographs reproduced with the kind permission of Helen Cullum