Date of Death:01/07/1916
Regiment:The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment
Cemetery:Maroc British Cemetery,Grenay
British troops advancing on the first day of the Battle of Loos, September 25th 1915
The British bombardment of the German positions began on September 21st and lasted until the 25th. On the night of the 24th the battalion moved forward into battle positions. The assault began with a gas attack at 06:34 but the wind changed and blew most of it back onto the attackers, the front and support lines suffered considerably. Despite this the leading parties of the battalion advanced up to the German wire but found this completely uncut and fell back. Lieutenant-Colonel Sanderson gathered as many men as he could for another attempt but again this failed. After that there were several further isolated attempts to advance by men of the battalion without success. What was left of the battalion then regathered in the trenches, a grand total of three officers and 159 men. The losses had been very heavy - sixteen officers and 489 other ranks were killed, wounded or missing. Abel Hartley was one of those killed. Private Henry Kenny was to win the Victoria Cross for his actions that day.
The battalion were involved in some, thankfully much lighter, fighting in mid October and after that alternated between spells holding the trenches in the neighbourhood of Loos and periods of training and recuperation. Many months were to elapse before the Battalion was again engaged in major operations although losses were steady in early 1916 from the usual dangers of front line life - shell & mortar fire, snipers and enemy bombing (grenade) attacks.
On the eve of the great British offensive at the Somme on July 1st 1916 men of the 1st Loyal North Lancashires were involved in one of the several subsidiary attacks that were meant to mislead the enemy as to the exact whereabouts of the forthcoming offensive. Preparations had been going on so long and in such a scale that it's highly unlikely the attack on the night of June 30th by units of the 1st Brigade - the 2nd KRRC, 2nd Royal Sussex and men of the 1st Loyal North Lancashire - served any purpose at all. The attack was against a German position known as 'the Triangle' and was mainly carried out by the men of the KRRC and Royal Sussex but men of the Loyals were also involved. They went over the top after an insufficient artillery bombardment and came up against uncut wire.Many lives were lost and many more men wounded. At 21:15 three mines went up and shortly afterwards the British troops went over the parapet of their trenches. The fighting went on until about 02:00 the following morning. The men of the King's Royal Rifle Corps and Royal Sussex Regiment came out of it the worst, the losses of the 1st Loyal North Lancashires were 10 killed and 37 wounded. Joseph Quarmby was killed in the early hours of July 1st. He was the first of 13 Royton men to be killed that terrible day.
The other 9 men killed in Joseph's unit were:
GALLAGHER JOSEPH 21 Private 2531 from Preston
HIRST BERTRAM Private 22189 from St Annes on Sea.
LAWTON WILLIAM Private 19373 from Farnworth
RATHBONE JOHN 36 Private 18824 from Bolton
RHODES HAROLD Serjeant 9390 from Leeds.Military Medal
SLINGER NORMAN Private 20255 born Darwen,enlisted Blackburn
STOW HAROLD Lance Corporal 8373 from Preston
STUBBINS JAMES 19 Private 10979 from Wigan
WEBB JOHN 19 Lance Corporal 22129 from Harpurhey,Manchester.Military Medal
Joseph Quarmby was born in Crompton in 1888, his parents being James & Alice both of whom were originally from Rochdale. Joseph was the 4th of 5 children;the others being Charles, Eliza, Sarah & Emmanuel. The Quarmby's had moved between Rochdale, Royton, Oldham, the Crompton area and then settled back in Royton at some point in the 1890's. The 1901 census found them living at 8 Beard Street.
Joseph married Mary Lawton in 1908 and they lived together at Mary's mother's along with some of her siblings, this was at 470 Shaw Road. He earned his living at the Lion Mill and by 1914 was a spinner there. Joseph & Mary had a daughter, Clara, in 1910. They lost two sons - George & Harry - in infancy.
In August 1914,soon after the outbreak of war Joseph went to enlist in Shaw. It would seem that he went with a group of friends - Abel Hartley & William Schofield who were the same age and also lived on Shaw Road enlisted at the same time with the probable intention of joining the 10th Battalion Manchester Regiment (the Oldham Territorials). This unit was sent for overseas service in September and although a 2nd/10th Battalion was formed it was to the Regiment's 4th Battalion that the men were sent. This was a reserve & training unit which made up part of the garrison on the Humber Estuary.
Joseph (along with Hartley & Schofield) was sent out on active service to the 1st Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashires as replacements in June 1915. The battalion had been out in France since August 1914 and like most others had suffered heavy casualties. Quarmby's early period in the unit was one of comparative quiet up until the end of September. At that time the 1st Loyals were to be one of the assault battalions on the first day of the Battle of Loos.