16761 Pte Joseph RAFTER 1/4th York and Lancaster Regiment Hallamshire Battalion.
Killed in Action 21.03.1918.
Joseph RAFTER was born 1895 at Hillsborough, Sheffield. His mother being Annie and he had one brother John. The 1911 census shows the family living at No4 Court, 8 House, Creswick Street, Neepsend, Sheffield. At this time aged 14 he is shown to be employed as a stationery ware buffer.
He enlisted into the Army at Sheffield on 5th September 1914 and joined the ranks of the 10th battalion York and Lancaster Regiment.
On the 10th September 1915 Joseph enters the Western theatre of operations in France.
On the 11th March 1916 he is wounded to the hand but is back to duty on the 24th March same year. Having had a fine disciplinary record so far something happens that sends him slightly off the rails as on 25th April 1916 he is awarded 21 days field punishment number 1 and on the 6th May 1916 a further 7 days FP No1. From this point on there are no other disciplinary issues.
It is not clear from his service papers which battalion Joseph is attached to on the 1st day of the Somme offensive but what they do show is that he is wounded suffering shellshock on that infamous day.
On the 23rd April 1917 he is again wounded this time suffering a shrapnel wound to the right leg and he is treated at a number of field hospitals and subsequently back in England. In September 1917 he also suffers from Bronchitis and is again hospitalised until November 1917.
On the 21st March 1918 it is clear that Joseph is now attached to the Hallamshire battalion of the York Lancaster Regiment, the 1/4th Battalion.
The battalion were operating in the area of YPRES and were in the front line at Westheok and the Railway Dugouts in what the battalion war diaries describe as Judge sub-sector. During the month of March the British front line is subjected to harassing artillery, much of which was gas and probing attacks with enemy incursions into our trenches. It was during this fighting on the 21st March that Joseph was killed.
He lies buried at the Duhallow Advanced Dressing Station Cemetery, West Vlaanderen, Belgium. He is also remembered on the roll of honour at St Vincents Church, Sheffield.