© Avening Parish Council 2023
“Preserve, Conserve, Enhance”
20 Joshua Albert Ford
Private: 3rd Labour Battalion, Devonshire Regiment
Joshua Albert Ford was born on New Years Day, 1881 and was baptised in Holy Cross Church,
Avening on Sunday the 17th of April aged 4 months. He was the middle child of three sons born to
William Ford (1849-1927) and his wife Olive May née Dyer (1851-1896). William was a carter and the
1881 census showed the family living on Old Hill. By 1891, they had moved to Star Lane, across the
road from the Cross Inn. Joshua is mentioned three times in Avening School records, for in July 1891
and early in 1892 he was reported as "weak in mathematics" and would be "put down a standard
should he make no improvements".
On the 22nd March 1900 he enlisted at Fermoy, Ireland into the Kings Royal Rifle Corps. He was 19
years and two months old, just under 5ft 5in (165cm) tall, weighed 129 lbs (9 stone 3lbs or 59 kgs),
of "sallow" complexion with brown eyes and black hair and took size 7 boots. He remained in the UK
until the 11th of December 1901 when he was sent to South Africa where he stayed until September
1902. During that time he was wounded with a gunshot wound in the arm but was treated locally
and returned to his battalion. He was awarded the South Africa medal.
In 1904 he married Minnie Gubbins who was born at Bisley. She was 27 years old. They had three
children, Albert William born September 1905 at Chalford, Olive Elsie born in 1909 at Dursley and
Rosetta Doris, born 1914 at Thornbury. During the twelve years after his return from South Africa,
he was on the Reserve lists but was recalled to the colours in August 1914 at the outbreak of war.
He left for France on the 2nd of February 1915. He was repatriated, wounded, on the 27th of May
that year and remained on a "home posting" until April 1917. He left for Belgium on Thursday the
26th of April and, having been transferred to the Labour Corps, became attached to the 3rd Labour
Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment with a new service number.
We are unsure of the battalion’s movements from April to July 1917 but they became heavily
involved with the Battle of Pilckem Ridge, the first battle of the Passchendaele offensive. This
started on the 31st of July and by the 3rd of August the Allies had advanced 1800 metres, suffering
32,000 casualties killed, wounded or missing. Joshua was one of those killed, falling on Wednesday
the 1st of August.
He is buried at the Huts Cemetery, Ieper, Belgium with 25 year old Sidney Dormer of the Ox and
Bucks Light Infantry on one side and L Watson of the Devons on the other. He was awarded the
1914/15 Star, the Victory and British Medals which were presented to his wife on the 13th of
We have been able to locate some descendants, one living in Maidstone to whom we have
introduced the facts about his great grandfather.