Back in September 2011 Joe began a quest to remember every single soldier who died fighting for the Hull Pals battalions in the First World War. Each day, at least each day when not out gigging, he researches another, looking to find out who he was, where he came from, who his family were and what he did for a living. The project is an attempt to show the human cost of war, and statistics just don’t cut it.
For instance, just short of 2000 men were killed fighting for the Pals, but that means nothing, not really; not until you read it like this:
Day 1143. Hull Pals Memorial Post. PRIVATE ERNEST CARTER PICKERING 11/952. Born in January 1896, Ernest was one of four children to Edward and Jenny Pickering of 6 Ethels Villas, Blake Street, Brunswick Ave, Hull. A Porter before the war he enlisted at Hull City Hall on Thursday 10th September 1914 joining the 11th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment, ‘The Tradesmen’, 2nd Hull Pals. One of the Originals he served in Egypt over the winter of 1915 before shipping to France the following March. A veteran of the Somme, Oppy Wood and the German Spring Offensive Ernest almost made it to the Armistice, but alas his luck finally ran out on 6th September 1918 when he was caught without his mask when a Mustard Gas shell exploded nearby. His lungs were exposed, and despite being removed from the line to the camps at Boulogne, he spent a painful week choking his life away in a hospital bed. Ernest is buried in Terlincthun Military Cemetery; he was 23 years old.
….then you begin to see the real tragedy.
The posts are collected on a dedicated Facebook page:
and a wordpress site is under construction playing catch-up with the Facebook page at:
Joe has also written two albums following soldiers first through the trenches in ‘Music From Potter’s Field’:
and then through the long journey back to the world in ‘Going Home: Music From Potter’s Field Vol II’:
He also co-wrote two books with Andy Wilson, telling stories which weave in and out the songs and narrated the audio versions which can be played here:
And if that isn’t enough for you, he recorded several of Wilfred Owen’s poems for a teaching aid for schools and these are available at:
That should keep you going for a while.