Joseph Lutkins was born in Chadwell Heath in 1896, the son of Joseph and Julia Lutkins. Both father and son were farm labourers. Joseph became a railway porter at Chadwell Heath Station in 1915 and after thirteen months service, joined the Essex Regiment in January 1916. He married Ellen Faulkner, shortly afterwards, in June that year. He was subsequently transferred to the King’s Royal Rifle Corps and was killed in action on 24th August 1918, aged 22 years old.
His regiment lost only a few men on 24th August, the war diary noting that:
‘At 3.45am the enemy put down a heavy barrage on our forward area. It lifted at 4.15 then continued in intensity until 4.45 when the enemy attacked. All posts resisted but the enemy occupied Clydesdale Camp in strength and with many machine guns. 6 OR [other ranks] killed. At 11.15pm fighting Patrols were despatched and found most posts occupied by our troops. No progress was made against Clydesdale Camp and the Patrol dug in along the line of the light railway. 1 OR killed.’
Joseph is buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Poperinghe, Belgium. His widow put a notice in the Ilford Recorder a month after his death: ‘Killed in action ‘somewhere in France’. Dearly beloved husband of Mrs Lutkins, 9 Ann’s Terrace. He died as nobly as he lived, loved by all who knew him.’(Ilford Recorder, 27th September 1918)
Joseph’s name features on the Great Eastern Railway memorial at Liverpool Street Station as well as the war memorials.
Adapted with the kind permission of Nicky Scowen, from her book ‘Searching for the Lost Boys: The Wolrd War One Memorial St Chad’s Church, Chadwell Heath’ © Nicky Scowen, 2013
Ilford Recorder, 27th September 1918
Commonwealth War Graves Commission