When he enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery in Dec 1915 Joseph Samuel Gale was a 26 year old gardener who’d already risen to become confidential manager and right hand man to his employer, Mr Boyden, a farmer and fruit grower at Moulton Chapel near Spalding.
Joseph was sent to France in early 1916. We have no details of his military career, but he rose from the rank of gunner to become a staff sergeant, so he was obviously well regarded. At some point he was severely injured and sent to a hospital in Glasgow, where he also had an operation for appendicitis. He was awarded the Silver War Badge, indicating that he’d been honourably discharged because of wounds or illness. He had a 2nd operation at Peterborough Infirmary but died on 10th Jun 1919. His body was bought to Normanton where he was buried with military honours. A party of soldiers from Belton Park Camp attended the funeral and fired 3 volleys over his grave, where the last post was sounded.
Joseph’s parents had met in Normanton, when his father Samuel Gale (born Retford) was working as an apprentice wheelwright to Joseph Ripley, who lived at Sparrow Gorse on Normanton Heath. Annie Maria Ripley was Mr Ripley’s eldest daughter and they married in 1882. Their first child (Annie Eliza) was born in Lincoln in 1883. By the time Joseph (their first son) was born in 1893 the family had moved to Brotherhouse Bar, near Cowbit (between Spalding and Crowland). Samuel worked as a wheelwright and publican (probably the Boat Inn). At about the same time that Joseph joined up, Annie’s mother died and the family moved back to Normanton, where Annie’s widowed brother Harry Ripley lodged with them until he died in 1916. Samuel Gale died 1932.