Private Joseph Cave 414406 Army Service Corps (Remounts Division)
who died on 22 March 1918
Joseph Cave was born in August 1889 in Walkeringham, Nottinghamshire. He was one of the six children of Thomas Cave, a horse keeper and his wife Elizabeth (nee Hill). Thomas and Elizabeth had married on 26 January 1869 at the church of St Mary the Virgin, Weston on Trent, Derbyshire. Thomas’ father was a farmer and at the time Thomas worked as an agricultural labourer as did Elizabeth’s father. Agricultural labouring was largely an itinerant profession with the men moving to wherever work was available. This must have been a lifestyle to which the Caves were accustomed as on every census Elizabeth is named as head of the household. In 1871 she is ‘agricultural labourer’s wife’ with one child Thomas jnr aged 1. The couple went on to have 6 children, Thomas, William, Henry, George, Sarah and Joseph. Thomas snr died in the summer of 1890 and thereafter Elizabeth found employment as a charwoman to support herself and the children, which by 1901 included a grandson Evelyn Kell Cave aged 1.
By 1911 Joseph had moved to the Oadby area and was working as a groom at Great Glen Manor. This house and stable still exist but the premises are now occupied by Stoneygate Preparatory School. Joseph was one of 8 servants in the household of Robert Kaye, a hosiery manufacturer. Joseph married Agnes Laura Tailby at St Peter’s Parish Church, Oadby on 18 May 1911. Her father was the publican of the New Inn. Their daughter Kathleen Iris was born in November 1912 at Greenholme Cottages, Kendal. A second daughter Gladys was born on 23 June 1916 at 58 Filbert Street, Leicester.
The Manor House, Great Glen
Joseph’s service record tells us that he enlisted on 23 October 1915 aged 26 and he was only 5ft 1 3/4 inches in height. The minimum requirement for the British Army was 5ft 3inches. In the early 20th Century childhood deprivation and bad diet often produced men of short stature who were otherwise physically fit. This was more prevalent in the mining communities of Derbyshire, the North East and Nottingham where Joseph grew up. Bantam Regiments were created for these men. Many miners were also assigned to non-combatant tunnelling units.
In Joseph’s case his occupation of groom made him an ideal candidate for the 53rd Remount Squadron which was based at Oadby Racecourse but also in Kettering where Joseph was posted. The Remounts were responsible for the training and care of requisitioned war horses.
Grooms of the 53rd Remount Squadron with their charges
Men of various regiments in the Forge at Oadby Racecourse
Farriers of the Remount Squadron at Oadby 22 March 1916
Farriers at Oadby Racecourse
There is no indication in Joseph’s service record that he served abroad but at some point he was admitted to the Northern General Hospital, Leicester. On 21 March 1918 he was discharged from active service. The reason given was ‘Dementia’. This term described anything from symptoms resulting from a brain injury, to tumours or strokes or indeed any kind of mental health problem, including shell shock. The fact that Joseph died the very next day suggests some form of trauma which probably resulted in severe concussion. His record contains a sequence of correspondence debating whether he was technically on active service when he died. After consideration, he was deemed to have died in service and therefore Agnes was eligible for a widow’s pension.
Correspondence relating to the query over Joseph’s ‘death in service’
Private Joseph Cave is Buried with Honour in Welford Road Cemetery. Joseph is another casualty with links to Oadby who is not represented on the town War Memorial.
Other Family Members
Joseph’s widow Agnes married Ernest W. Peel in 1919. By 1920 she was living at Spencer Street, Oadby. By 1939 she was living at 38 Cleveleys Avenue, Blaby and working as a linker in the hosiery industry. There is no mention of her second husband at this time and she was sharing the property with 19 year old Marjorie E Wright a boxer in the hosiery industry. Agnes died in June 1971 and Ernest in June 1950.
Kathleen Iris married Arthur G Hickenbottom in 1939 and they lived at 13 Fairborn Road, Blaby where Kathleen worked as a linker in the knitwear industry and Arthur was an assistant in a fishmonger’s shop. Kathleen died aged 61 in June 1974 at Leicester. It has not been possible to find further record of Gladys Cave.