An Old Coathamian – Not Forgotten

Joseph William Smith HIRD

Second Lieutenant, 7th (Service) Battalion,
Prince of Wales’s (North Staffordshire Regiment).

Born 22 August 1884,
Died 26 January 1917, aged 32 years.

Buried in Amara War Cemetery, Iraq,
Grave XXIV.B.33.

Second Lieutenant Hird was serving with his battalion in Mesopotamia in operations against the Ottoman Empire, which had allied itself with Germany. 4,621 Commonwealth servicemen are buried in this cemetery. As it records on the family memorial in Redcar Cemetery, “he died of wounds received in action at Kut-El-Amara Mesopotamia”.

Joseph William Smith Hird was the son of William Waistell Hird and Elizabeth Maria Hird. The family lived at 5, Nelson Terrace, Coatham, and his father was a coal merchant. Joseph was the eldest of seven children and he and his two brothers, Frederick and Frank, were fee-paying day boys at the school. He had four sisters, Elizabeth, Evelyn, Ethel and Winifred. Joseph joined Coatham Grammar School in September 1893, aged nine, in the preparatory class, and stayed at school until July 1899, leaving one month short of his fifteenth birthday. His father died in March 1904 and at some point before the 1911 Census the family moved to Cleveland Lodge, Cornwall Road, Harrogate. At that time, all the children except his younger brother Frank were living there, on private means, with their widowed mother.