You are on page 1of 8

JOSEPH OSWALD WILCOXON 1893-1916

Joseph Oswald was born at Coedpoeth on October 5 th 1893. He was the second son born to Joseph and Annie
who by now already had another son and five daughters. Like the rest of the family he attended Penygelli
School and on September 14th 1906 he was accepted to Grove Park County School for Boys. He was admitted
as Pupil No 681, and at the time his address was 27 Queens Terrace, High Street, Coedpoeth . His fathers
occupation at the time was recorded as Assistant Overseer.
He was quite a musical boy and helped his sister Ada Jane run the Sunday school at Salem Chapel in the village
of Coedpoeth. Apart from singing in the choir he also played the organ, he was probably encouraged by
his eldest sister Elizabeth Ellen who was the organist there.
In 1912, at the age of 19, he sang at the Welsh National Eisteddfod which was being held at Wrexham, The
piece chosen for the entry was an oratorio named “ Israel in Egypt “ composed in 1788 by G F Handel and
edited for choral use by Vincent Novello.
Joseph Oswald later moved to 21 Alexandra Road, Wrexham with his parents and joined the army as
Private 1778, Ist Battalion, Welsh Guards, Prince of Wales Company.
His brother Harold was a 2nd Lt with the 13th Welsh Regiment and during their embarkation to France saw
Joseph Oswald but was unable to acknowledge him due to his rank, that was the last time he saw his brother
alive.
JOSEPH OSWALD WILCOXON
PRIVATE 1778. 1st BATTALION WELSH GUARDS
WHO DIED ON SUNDAY 10 SEPTEMBER 1916
AGED 22.
BURIED AT GUARDS CEMETERY, LESBOUFS
SOMME, FRANCE. GRAVE No XIII. N .30.
Lesboufs was attacked by the Guards division on 15 th
September 1916 and captured by them on the 25th.
It was lost on 24th March 1918 during the great German
offensive and recaptured on 29 th August by the 10th
Battalion South Wales Borderers.

.
1

JOSEPH OSWALDS SIGNATURE FROM THE “ ISRAEL IN EGYPT “ BOOK USED AT THE
EISTEDDFOD IN 1912

At the Welsh Guards Museum at Park Hall, near Oswestry there is a “death plaque” bearing Joseph Oswald’s`
name and Army details. These were presented to the families of soldiers who lost their lives in service.

THE WAR MEMORIAL IN COEDPOETH
IS IN THE PARK CLOSE TO THE
LIBRARY.
JOSEPH OSWALDS FATHER WAS CLERK
TO THE COUNCIL HERE FOR MANY
YEARS WHEN THE BUILDING WAS THE
BERSHAM DISTRICT COUNCIL OFFICES.

2

Joseph Oswald Wilcoxon was my Great Uncle and was killed on Sunday 10 th Sept 1916.
He was Pte 1778 1st Battalion Welsh Guards. He is buried at the Guards Cemetery, Lesboufs.
His death was reported in local newspapers. This is from the Llangollen Advertiser 10 October 1916

In the Wrexham Advertiser dated 21 Oct 1916 I found a article about his death. It states that initially his parents
believed that he had been wounded, but was alive.
Then they received a letter from a C Spillman to say that Joseph Oswald had been killed in battle.
C Spillman goes on to tell that Joseph was found and buried, that he took his pay book and watch, which will
be forwarded on. He says that he walked 5 miles to the grave and erected a cross on the grave of the " best
chum on earth, I lost a brave and good chum"

3

An official letter didn`t arrive until later which confirmed his death.
So - who was C Spillman, Joseph`s good pal.
I didn`t find him on the War Graves, so he luckily survived and I found him on the Medal Roll Index.
Charles F Spillman. Pte 1698 Welsh Guards.
I wondered what happened to Charles F Spillman. Through posts on the Great War Forum, and a lucky find on
Genes Reunited I managed to trace the great nephew of Charles F Spillman.
Charles had indeed survived the war.
In June 1919 a war gratuity of £6 6s 4d was paid to Joseph Oswald’s father. A pitiful sum for the loss of his son.

Joseph Wilcoxon was keen for his son to have a commission and these letters from 1915 are between him and
O W Owen who was the secretary to the Welsh Guards, as he was still a Private at his death then his application
was not successful.

4

5

6

In the book Coedpoeth Memories there is a section about the War Memorial. It states that on the 12 th August
1916 the parents of one of the fallen wrote to their son in France asking him in the event that of a memorial
being raised to make a suggestion as what he thought would be suitable for that purpose. On the 20 th of that
same month he replied ` I think the best memorial you could get would be to try to make a playground for the
children. It is a thing that has always been lacking, and would save the kiddies from having to play on the
streets` On the 10th of the following month he was killed.
This matches the date of Joseph Oswalds death, but no one involved in the writing of the book has any hard
evidence of these letters. It would be nice to believe that the playground was part of his wish.

7

8