Southam in WW1

Centenary Archive

Honouring those who died and all who served


Private Joseph Usher (330801)

Private Usher (b.1874) enlisted in RWR in 1915 when he was 43 years old. It is hard to imagine that he was fit when passed for service for two years later he was discharged. In that year the RAMC medical report (3rd October 1917) describing the causes of Private Usher’s condition (perhaps to avoid paying him a pension) stated:

‘probably his hard work as a quarry man has added to the tendency to arthritis’.

The report (these rarely were other than brisk statements lacking sensitivity), went on to describe his condition:

‘There is distinct grating in the left shoulder joint and passive movement elicits this grating with considerable pain’.

Private Usher had not left the country. His health deteriorated after January 1916 spent under canvas and after various hospital treatments later that year a decision was made to X-ray his shoulder for a possible aneurism. Afterwards he was declared physically unfit for military service suffering from arthritis of the left shoulder caused by ‘exposure’ and discharged.  He was awarded the Silver Badge (254275).

Joseph Usher, a single man, returned to Southam to live with his widowed mother on Tattle Bank. It may have afforded her some comfort to have him home as she was widowed in 1903 when her husband, also called Joseph, had committed suicide in their home whilst the balance of his mind was disturbed.  At the time Joseph senior was 72 years old and worried about not being able to get back to work in the quarry after illness.

Private Joseph Usher did not live long after the war. He died in 1922 and his aged mother lived until 1927 when she died aged 84 years. All the family were buried in Southam Churchyard.