When looking through research I had references in three different locations to a Wolverhampton man, J. Ward. When I decided to pull them all together, I discovered they were three different men.
Joseph Ward served in the Balkans as a Private with the 1st Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment (service number 15313), first entering the Theatre of War on 21 July 1915. He was awarded the Military Medal, as listed in J. C. J. Elson’s Honours & Awards: The South Staffordshire Regiment 1914 – 1918, and his name was recorded in the London Gazette on 17 December 1917. Because of his fairly common name, and without any idea of his age, there are various possible births for him. He is not listed on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site, so he appears to have survived the War.
The Express & Star on 12 January 1917 listed a Sergeant J. Ward of the Worcestershire Regiment (service number 10147) as amongst the wounded. This is John Joseph Ward, who was born about 1885, and served with the C Company, 5th Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment. According to the Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects, he died of influenza in Camberwell. His next of kin were given as brother James A., sisters Annie and Florence, and sister-in-law Rose. However, I have not been able to confirm his details on the censuses.
Finally, there is Jeremiah Ward, listed in the first volume of Andrew Thornton’s South Staffords at War: August 1914 – December 1915. He was born in Wolverhampton in 1885, the son of Jeremiah and Ann Ward. In 1891, they were living at 95 Dudley Road, together with a further five children: Lillie, Eliza, Priscilla, Hezekiah and Stephen. By 1901 they are at Cobden Street, and the remaining children at home, Jeremiah, Hezekiah and Stephen, are joined by Charlotte, as well as their cousins Margaret and Stephen A. Bennett. Jeremiah had become a pit winder at a local colliery. He married Mary Ann E. Ellitts in Wolverhampton in 1907, and had a son, Jeremiah, in 1909. By 1911 they had moved to Shirebrook, in Nottinghamshire, and were joined in the household by Jeremiah’s brother Hezekiah, his wife Louisa and daughter Eva. Jeremiah was a miner hewer.
Jeremiah joined the 2nd Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment (number 7133), disembarking on 12 August 1914. He was wounded in fighting on 23 October 1914, and he died of his wounds a day later. The Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects has his widow, Mary Ann, as his next of kin, and his trade is given as Engine Cleaner. He is buried at the Cement House Cemetery, in Belgium.
If anybody has any further information on any of these three men, please do share it!