1885 - 1916
CPL David Wallace Crawford
1887 - 1916
Lce-Corpl John Joseph Nickle
1894 - 1916
Pte 17911 Morton Neill
1897 - 1916
Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft
1883 - 1918
Pte 57389 Joseph Adams
- Age: 20
- From: Greenock, Renfrew
- Regiment: The King's (Liverpool Regiment) 20th Btn
- K.I.A Monday 9th April 1917
- Commemorated at: Henin Crucifix Cem
Panel Ref: Sp.Mem 1
Joseph was born in 1897, the youngest son of Edward and Christina Adams.
At the time of the 1901 census, Edward and Christina were living at 12 Nile Street, Greenock with their children, Robert aged 16, David 12, Edward 9, Angus 8 and Joseph aged 4.
Prior to the war Joseph was employed at Greenock Post Office.
He enlisted in Glasgow joining the Lowland Divisional Cyclist Company as Private 1164. Prior to departure for service overseas he transferred to the 20th Battalion of the Kings Liverpool Regiment as Private 57389 and was was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of Arras on 09/04/1917 aged 20.
17th, 19th & 20th Battalion at the Battle of Arras 09th April 1917
Everard Wyrall records the events of the day in Volume 2 of his History of the King's Regiment (Liverpool).
The 89th Brigade formed up for the attack with the 19th King's on the right and the 20th King’s on the left. The 17th King’s supplied the “mopping up" parties and he 2nd Bedfords were in close support.
It was just after 3pm when the advance began “According to scheduled time the waves advanced in good style and with determination; everyone was cheerful and in the best of spirits”
That advance is described by others as magnificent. From the OP’s the observing officers saw a wonderful sight – long lines of men advancing steadily up a long and gradual slope towards the enemy’ front line. Then suddenly they disappeared. The observers quite pardonably, imagined that the German front line had fallen into the hands of the assaulting troops and that the latter were on the way to the enemy’s support line. Alas something very different had happened. When the advancing troops had reached the summit of the long slope up which they advanced the ground suddenly dipped before the German front line , and when the observing officers thought they were already in the Bosche lines they had not, as a matter of fact, even reached the wire. What the observers took to be the front line was really the support line; the front line could not be seen - it lay just behind the crest of that slight rise in the ground.
The attacking waves of the 19th King’s got within 100 yards of the German wire but were then held up. They were faced by three belts of entanglements, practically untouched by our artillery, and nothing could be done but to dig in or else take shelter in the many shell- shell-with which “No Man’s Land" was pitted. By this time the battalion’s losses were very heavy, and when darkness fell “A" and “B" Companies (about 140 in all) lay in shell-holes, two or three hundred yards north east of St. Martin, but just south of the Cojeul River, and “C" and “D" Companies (140 all ranks) were along the river bank, but on the northern side about 150 yards north east of St. Martin.
The first waves of the 20th King’ advanced at 3.7pm. At 4pm Lieut Beaumont, commanding “A" Company, reported that he had had some forty casualties in passing through the enemy’s barrage. The next message, timed 4.40pm, stated that the position of the battalion at that period was on a crest in front of the enemy’s wire and about 100 yards from it. On the right the 21st Division was observed to have penetrated the enemy’s front line, but in the left the right Battalion of the 21st Brigade (the Wilts) was on the St. Martin- Neuville Vitasse road; the left flank of the 20th King's was, therefore, “ in the air”.
Urgent messages were sent up from Battalion Headquarters to “push on, keeping in touch with right” But little else could be accomplished until those formidable belts of wire had been cut sufficiently to allow the rapid passage of the attacking troops, headed by their bombers.
At 9:30 that night 89th Brigade Headquarters ordered both the 19th and 20th Battalions to withdraw, the former to the two sunken roads running south east from St. Martin, the latter to north west of St. Martin; the guns had been ordered to cut the enemy’s wire during the night in preparation for another attack during the 10th April.
Of the 17th King’s - the “moppers up" – there is little to relate. There was nothing to “mop up" so that they did not function. Yet they had shared all the perils of the advance, and when after they had fallen back and at midnight held the following positions, “B", “C", and “D" Companies in and around the sunken road north of Boiry-Becquerelle and “A" Company in trenches west of Henin, they lost 2 officers and 16 other ranks killed, and 3 officers and 48 other ranks wounded.
He now rests at Henin Crucifix Cemetery, France with a headstone which contains the inscription at the top "Known to be buried in this Cemetery" and contains an epitaph which reads:
“THEIR GLORY SHALL NOT BE BLOTTED OUT”
The epitaph comes from Ecclesiasticus 44 verse 13 and was chosen by Rudyard Kipling. These headstones commemorate casualties whose graves in a cemetery were destroyed or who were known to buried in the cemetery but the exact whereabouts within the cemetery were not recorded.
His family posted notices in the local paper following Joseph's death. These included his mother and father as well as his brothers Angus and David, serving with the Royal Scots, and Edward serving with the Royal Engineers and also his sister whose name doesn’t appear in the obituary notices.
Joseph is commemorated on the following Memorials:
Broomhill War Memorial
The Men of Greenock
We currently have no further information on Joseph Adams, If you have or know someone who may be able to add to the history of this soldier, please contact us.