Joe was born 1st January 1895 in Trimdon Colliery, he died in France 29 May 1916 during WWI.
Joe worked at the Station Town Co-op store in Trimdon Station as a cart man. These jobs were difficult to obtain as most young people in the community had to work in the mines. He enlisted at West Hartlepool 21 November 1914 in the 4th Reserve Cavalry, based at Tidworth. He was 19 yrs, 244 days old and signed on for three years, or, the duration of the war. He was in the "Hussars of the Line" No. 17571. On the 3 June 1915, he transferred to the 3rd Dorset, No. 13673.
The following letters and documents give us a good insight into his character, the closeness of his family, friends and their values. The letters and documents have been transcribed from the originals without making any grammatical or other corrections. They start during training at Assaye Barracks Tidworth, casualty of the Serbian Campaign, recovery in Bootle hospital, death in France and letters of condolence.
The first is a picture postcard of Assaye Barracks Tidworth from Joe for sister Annie – 1914. Message written on the back of the postcard.
Where the brass is
Where I used to stop
Where Purvis and Orton is
My bunk is just about the other X
The space is the Brk. Square (Drill ground) for recruits foot drill.
A Christmas postcard to Joe from his sister Jane and husband Charles Richardson living in Australia 1914
Another Christmas Day
Times flight has brought
May it be happy beyond hope or thought.
Message on back of card:
to our Dear Brother Joseph
from Jennie and Charlie wishing you our best wishes and a speedy return and a glorious Victory
Letter 1914 Joe Shorthouse to Parents
3rd Dorset Regt.
S Company, Wyhe Regis Camp
Dear Mother, Father & all.
I received your letter from Sidworth today and I hope you are all keeping well. I am pleased that Tom as been at home again, hoping he does well again. Well mother everything works together for good. We have fallen on our feet as we are in the prettiest place I ever saw, and we get a pass into the town every night, but must be in prompt 8:45 pm or else the consequence. I think Annie mis-understood me about the shirkers. Did I not say it was the shirkers who were doing this. Not us I don’t mean you see I am referring to those who haven’t joined yet, they want a ride and to get into the cavalry, but I am not afraid to soldier with anybody now and we will try and do our bit against the Turks in about 3 weeks. I got a letter from Kitty today. She was asking after you all. I may write to her, but I am going to enjoy my little self while I have got the chance because we are a long time today.
Mr Williams goes to the front on Monday. I got a letter from him yesterday and he hopes I return safely with the V.C. and nearly cried when I come away he didn’t see me off but sent me 10/- but he did not owe me this as he paid me for my teeth before I come. I hope father is well. The sea is calm here now, just a stones throw and Portland Prison in the distance. When you send me my photo’s send about 2 of us together Annie and 4 of myself.
Trusting you all keeping well
Your loving son, Joe.
13673 Private J Shorthouse
A card from the Trimdons Local Relief Fund
Greetings to Corpl. J. Shorthouse.
From your friends at the Trimdons,
per the Local Relief Fund, Trimdon Grange,
with Best wishes, and hopes for your
speedy and safe return.
G. Fenny, President
W. Wilkinson, Secretary.
This worn and folded handwritten Hymn and Testament by Joe in 1914, was returned with his possessions.
Soldiers Room, Sandside, Scarborough
FIGHT the good fight with all thy might
CHRIST is thy Strength and CHRIST thy Right
Lay hold on life and it shall be
Thy joy and crown eternally
Run the straight race through GODS good grace
Lift up thine eyes and seek his face
Life with its way before us lies
CHRIST is the path and CHRIST the prize
Cast care aside lean on thy Guide
His boundless mercy will provide
Trust and thy trusting soul shall prove
Christ is the life and CHRIST its love
Faint not nor fear His Arms are near
He changeth not and thou art dear
Only believe and thou shalt see
That CHRIST is all in all to thee.
The following Testament and notes were written on the back of the hymn sheet:
I wandered far away from
God I did not love the fold
I did not hear my masters voice
I would not be controlled
I can say from my heart
I have got the fold now
God save the King
Glory to God in the highest.
When I get away write. Private J Shorthouse
I fell in with a Shorthouse from Staffordshire