Joseph Boardman was born in 1890,his parents being Edward and Margaret. He enlisted in Rochdale and rather than one of the local regiments found himself serving with the Devonshires.He got to France on December 8th 1915 and with his battalion, the 8th, would have seen some heavy fighting with many friends and comrades killed and injured. They suffered at least 500 casualties during July 1916 in the Battle of the Somme for example.
Joseph survived that and no doubt much more but met his end during the Third Battle of Ypres (often known as Passchendaele) which had started on 31 July 1917 and, within hours, had turned into a long, hard, deadly slog northwards. There followed weeks of attacks through the rain and nearly three months later, objectives scheduled to be captured within the first days were still in German hands. Yet another attack was to take place on 26th October and it would prove to be the worst day of the whole War for the 8th Devonshires.It would be in atrocious conditions against untold odds facing very heavy shelling and all in appaling mud. A battle against pill-boxes and machine-guns, heavy casualties were guaranteed.
Other units would lead that day's attack, with the 8th and 9th Devons following behind. They would overlap the first units and continue the attack east of the Belgian village of Gheluvelt. Both Battalions were seriously understrength as a result of casualties from previous fighting, but they moved into their positions near Zillebeke Lake on the evening of the 24th. "B" and "D" Companies would lead the Battalion, "C" just behind acting as "moppers up" and "D" in reserve ready to plug any gaps. In front of them, the enemy was holding it's line of pill-boxes and shell holes, consolidated into the trench system.
Zero was 5.40am on the 26th and the British artillery barrage opened on time, rolling across No Man's Land. The men of the 9th left their trenches, following closely behind the protection of the shelling. They were almost immediately hit by enfilade fire, but managed to press on. Following shortly after, Joseph and his comrades also suffered many casualties from the fire coming from their side and it was not long before they had caught up with the men of the 9th Battalion. The Regimental History records that some members of "B" Company made a gallant attempt to rush the pill-boxes, but all were hit except one sergeant who managed to get into a shell hole and continued firing. Another platoon was seen to reach Gheluvelt, but none ever returned. Captain Marshall led most of the Company across the Menin Road, capturing several pill-boxes and getting close to the village church. This group was quickly counter-atatcked and had to pull back to the road.
"D" Company had fared little better. It‘s attack had been broken up by the heavy fire and several men were now with Captain Marshall's party. 2nd Lieutenant Evans led his men towards Gheluvelt Chateau. Few survived and were able to fall back.
"A" and "C" Companies had also become disorganised and were mixed up with the leading Companies, but some men did capture a pill-box, but they were then successfully counterattacked. One platoon of "A" Company managed to get properly forward to meet the German counter-attack but lost heavily.
By 11am, both Battalions had been reduced to a series of small disorganised groups, with little in the way of command structure left. Even those who were left were now having difficulties as their rifles were clogged with mud. The situation was most serious and Battalion HQ now sent forward the few men remaining (such as signallers) and the Adjutant even burnt the codebook and his copy of the orders.
Fortunately, reinforcements of fresh troops from other units now arrived and held off the German attack. By 8pm, it was clear that any men from the 8th who had not returned to the British lines must be either dead or prisoner. Of the Battalion's 16 officers who had gone into battle, only one was unscathed. In all they had lost 127 men killed or missing and another 131 wounded.
The CWGC has the following men falling alongside Joseph Boardman that day:
GOODING FRANK 27 Private 1404 SON OF SILAS AND EMMA GOODING, OF WELLINGTON, SOMERSET.
PHILLIPS JAMES CECIL 37 Private 291873 SON OF MRS. ELIZABETH MARY PHILLIPS, OF CREDITON, DEVON.
WESTACOTT CHARLES STANLEY 19 Private 21833 SON OF WILLIAM J.H. AND EMILY OF PLYMPTON
BUCKINGHAM THOMAS NOEL 24 Lieutenant OF DODDISCOMBSLEIGH, EXETER.
ALMOND WILLIAM JOHN HENRY Private 16892
ANSCOMBE FREDERICK ERNEST 28 Private 33321 SALISBURY
ARCHER GEORGE 45 Private 33276 SON OF JOHN AND MARTHA ARCHER, OF ATHERSTONE.
BALL WALTER LESLIE 19 Private 291841 FOSTER SON OF MRS. ANNIE WESTON, OF HANTS.
BARWICK JOHN HENRY 26 Private 3/6068 HUSBAND OF ROSE PHILLIPS OF ILFRACOMBE
BIDDLECOMBE CHARLES HENRY 29 Private 33604 SON OF ALBERT AND EDITH BIDDLECOMBE, OF HANTS.
CHAMBERLAIN WILFRED 25 Corporal 33154 SON OF JOHN AND CHARLOTTE CHAMBERLAIN, OF TORQUAY.
CHIVERS SYDNEY F. Private 30889
COCKERELL 26 Private 70061 SON OF MRS. LOUISA COCKERELL, OF 28, CHURCH ST., DORKING, SURREY.
COLLACOTT JOHN HENRY Corporal 7627
COPESTAKE FREDERICK 20 Private 18443 SON OF JOHN AND MINNIE F. COPESTAKE, OF CHELTENHAM,
CORAM JAMES Corporal 30486
COTTRELL WALTER WATSON Lance Corporal 18708
COULMAN JAMES HENRY H. 29 Private21637 HUSBAND OF NELLIE COULMAN, OF TORQUAY
COULSTOCK ALBERT GEORGE 33 Private 63701 HUSBAND OF ANN COULSTOCK.
CUNNINGHAM JOHN THOMAS Lance Corporal 31086
DAVEY JOB SEARLE Private 18376
DAY BERTIE ROLAND Private 33828
EADE A 25 Private 33279 SON OF ALFRED AND AMELIA EADE, OF CORNWALL.
EDMUNDS EDMUND Serjeant 10492
ELLIS CHARLES 23 Private 33829 HUSBAND OF MAUD BEATRICE ELLIS, OF BRISTOL.
ELSTON ALBERT EDWARD 31 Private 17884 SON OF MR. C. ELSTON, OF LONDON.
FEBER WILLIAM 32 Private 15271 SON OF MRS. HARRIET ANN FEBER, OF 35, EAGLE ST., TODMORDEN.
FISHER WILLIAM JAMES 25 Private HUSBAND OF EDITH ROSE GLOVER OF DEVON.
FOSTER ALBERT WILLIAM 37 Private 14567 SON OF EDWIN AND THE LATE MARY A. FOSTER, OF CANADA; HUSBAND OF MARY FOSTER, OF 29, STANLEY GARDENS, MARLDON HILL, PAIGNTON, DEVON.
FRENCH WILLIAM ALBERT Private 23096
FULFORD WILLIAM Private 30868
GAY ARCHIE JOHN Lance Corporal 7671
GIBBINGS HUBERT MICHAEL 22 Private 45677 SON OF FRANCIS AND ELIZABETH GIBBINGS.
GIBBS THOMAS STANLEY 23 Serjeant 14634 SON OF HENRY FRANCIS GIBBS, OF TORQUAY; HUSBAND OF WINIFRED DORA GIBBS, OF DEVON HOUSE, FORE ST., SIDMOUTH, DEVON.
GILBERT JOHN HENRY Lance Corporal 33348
GILLETT WILLIAM THOMAS 27 Private 33436 HUSBAND OF SARAH JANE GILLETT, OF CAMBERLEY.
GIRVAN FREDERICK WILLIAM 24 Captain SON OF ROBERT AND ISABELLA GIRVAN, OF BELFAST.
GOODING ARTHUR HENRY 23 Lance Corporal 38069 SON OF JOHN AND ELIZABETH GOODING, OF EXMOUTH; HUSBAND OF BEATRICE ANNIE GOODING, OF 17, PARK TERRACE, TIVERTON, DEVON.
GREEN ALFRED KYNASTON Private 3/8190
GRINDON T E Private 30893
HAMLEY H Private 15569
HARVEY G Corporal 33149
HELLYER JOHN Private 33358
HOSKING GEORGE 36 Private 30499 SON OF GEORGE AND GRACE HOSKING, OF DEVON.
HOSKING WILLIAM JOHN 20 Private 33353 ELDEST SON OF AMELIA A. GEORGE OF REDRUTH, CORNWALL
HUSSEY PATRICK 20 Private 16378 SON OF DANIEL AND CAROLINE HUSSEY, OF ROTHERHITHE, LONDON.
IRVING JAMES 36 Private 12577 SON OF MRS. JESSIE IRVING, OF 11, WALLACE, ST. GRAHAMSTON, FALKIRK.
JOHNS A 32 Private 10565 SON OF WILLIAM HENRY AND SUSAN JANE JOHNS, OF DEVON.
JOHNS WILLIAM DAVID 26 Corporal 9076 HUSBAND OF EDITH F. M. BAILEY OF , BOURNEMOUTH.
JUPE CHARLES ERIC 27 Captain SON OF MARY JANE JUPE, OF LORRAINE, WINSCOMBE, SOMERSETLANE ERNEST JOHN 30 Corporal 7582 SON OF R. LANE, OF LABURNHAM COTTAGE, BROAD CLYST, EXETER,
LEHANE CECIL JAMES 33 Private 23975 HUSBAND OF SELINA LEHANE, OF BANGOR, CO. DOWN.
LEWIS J Lance Corporal 33592
LEWIS WILLIAM JOHN 22 Private 30601 SON OF W. E. AND SOPHIA LEWIS, OF CORNWALL.
LITTLEJOHNS W J Private 205057
LOCKLEY GEORGE Private 30698
LONEY LEONARD 19 Private 205062 SON OF WALTER AND FANNY LONEY, OF EXETER
LORD GEORGE 36 Private 31091 HUSBAND OF MRS. M. LORD, OF 55, BELVEDERE RD., LAMBETH, LONDON.
LORD HUGH CECIL 23 Second Lieutenant SON OF MR. AND MRS. GERARD LORD, OF 1342 1/2, FORSYTHE AVENUE, COLUMBUS, OHIO, U.S.A.
LUCAS FREDERICK Private 30678
MARSHALL F J Lance Serjeant 7691
MAY F T Lance Corporal 49023
MAY L J Lance Corporal 33297
MILLER HENRY CHARLES 22 Private 290341 SON OF JAMES HILSON MILLER, OF BRIXHAM
MILLER W J 38 Private 14831 HUSBAND OF EDITH HARRIET MILLER, OF EXETER.
MONK ALAN Lieutenant
MOYLE WILLIAM STANLEY Private 33374
NATHAN ABRAHAM 24 Private 16417 SON OF MRS. RACHEL NATHAN, OF LONDON.
NORMAN VICTOR FRANK Private 33170
NORTH HERBERT WILLIAM 34 Private 290852 YOUNGEST SON OF JAMES AND MARY NORTH, OF WILTS.
PAGE CLARENCE WILLS Private 290252
PALMER SAMUEL FRANCIS Private 30707
PARKES BENJAMIN JAMES Private 33457
PERKINS WALTER ERNEST Private 31085
POOK THOMAS 37 Private 26714 HUSBAND OF EMILY POOK, OF LONDON.
PURNELL ERNEST FREDERICK 23 Private 33502 BRISTOL. HIS BROTHER ALBERT ARTHUR ALSO FELL.
RAYSON PERCY JAMES 19 Private 30892 SON OF JOHN RAYSON, OF SOMERSET.
READ CHARLES FRANCIS 20 Private 42073 SON OF MRS. M. READ, OF DEVONPORT
RICHARDS HERBERT 21 Private 45638 SON OF MR. J. AND MRS. L. A. RICHARDS, OF CORNWALL.
ROBERTS ROY STANLEY Private 290435
RUMBOLD H Private 33461
SAWYER WALTER Private 10126
SCAMP THOMAS WILLIAM 21 Lance Corporal 16553 SON OF SARAH SCAMP, OF 32, FLORA ST., PLYMOUTH
SLEE W H 19 Private 38059 SON OF MRS. E. A. SLEE, OF 39, BOSTON RD., HORFIELD, BRISTOL.
SMITH FRANK MORLEY Private 291888
SMITH JOHN MATTERSON ROYAL Private 31093 SON OF MRS. AMELIA SMITH, OF STOCKPORT.
SNELL W W Lance Serjeant 3/6162
SNOW WILLIAM EDGAR 21 Private 290518 SON OF WILLIAM JOHN AND FLORENCE MARY SNOW, OF DEVON.
SOWDEN FRANK 38 Private 47746 HUSBAND OF ALICE M. SOWDEN, OF ANCHOR SQUARE, EXETER.
SUTTON C W 21 Private 33188 SON OF MRS. SARAH SUTTON, OF GREENLINCH, SILVERTON, EXETER.
TAYLOR WILLIAM HENRY Private 36456
TEMPLEMAN SIDNEY Serjeant 19724
THORN EDWARD THOMAS M M Serjeant 18687
TIMMS M B Private 33559
TOTTERDELL E W Private 16757
TRATHEN LOUIS 22 Private 290535 SON OF MR. AND MRS. H. W. TRATHEN, OF CORNWALL.
TREDELL ARTHUR Private 48170
TREMLETT ALFRED WILLIAM 20 Private 290342 SON OF WILLIAM AND LOUISA TREMLETT, OF TEIGNMOUTH,
TRIGGS ALFRED 33 Private 30366 HUSBAND OF LILY TRIGGS, OF BEARE FARM, OAKLANDS, OKEHAMPTON
TUFFIN L H Private 31040
WAKEHAM SAMUEL THOMAS 19 Private 30870 SON OF MRS. A. R WAKEHAM, OF DEVONPORT.
MOCKFORD WILLIAM HENRY Corporal 8562
STEPHENS THOMAS JAMES 30 Private 33394 HUSBAND OF EMILY STEPHENS, OF CORNWALL.
JOSEPH EDWARD BOARDMAN
Date of Death:26/10/1917
Memorial:Tyne Cot Memorial
Panel Reference:Panel 38 to 40
Joseph Boardman's inscription at Tyne Cot