838300 Private Joseph William Henry Hamlet was born in Filey, Yorkshire, England, on October 5th, 1896, to William and Nancy Hamlet. Initial research indicates that Joseph was a "home child", emmigrating to Canada in 1910, through a social program that was meant to give orphaned and / or destitute children a better life in one of the Empire's Dominions. Records show a fourteen year old Joseph Hamlet arriving in Canada in 1910 aboard the Empress of Ireland. His age given when he attested to the 147th is consistent with the age given by when Joseph Hamlet arrived in Canada.

What is known is that Joseph was working as a farmer in the community of Allan Park, Grey County, Ontario, when hostilities broke out and that he joined the two independent infantry companies being raised by the 31st (Grey) Regiment, for overseas service. When the 147th (Grey) Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force was authorized all the men of these two companies were taken on strength of the new battalion.

Joining the new battalion on December 15th, 1915 Joseph listed his Aunt as his next of kin, lending credence to the speculation that he was a home child. As the unit was being billeted locally over the winter, Joseph continued to be housed in Owen Sound until the unit left in the spring. The 147th, centralized in Owen Sound in May to finalize the administration and organization of the unit, just prior to their departure for Camp Niagara later that month. As the conditions in the Camp were wanting the unit moved to the new training facility of Camp Borden in late June.

Whilst undergoing training in Canada, Joseph had three separate run-ins with the military justice system for going absent without leave. Each incident resulted in fines and confinement to barracks.

In September, with Joseph having undured tonsilitis, rhinitis and amblyopia, the unit received their orders to proceed overseas, but due to an outbreak of diphtheria they were detained in Amherst, Nova Scotia, for over a month. The unit finally sailed for Great Britain, on November 14th 1916, abpoard the SS. Olympic.

On January 1st, 1917, the 147th Battalion ceased to exist when it became the nucleus for the 8th Reserve Battalion, whose task it was to supply reinforcements to the 58th Battalion and the 4th C.M.R. Joseph was taken on strength of the 4th C.M.R. on April 22nd, 1917, during the closing days of the First Battle of Arras.

Joseph was injured by a gunshot wound to the right arm, on May 3rd, 1917, probably during a working party near Pylones, France. Hospitalised in Boulogne, France, and then Liverpool and Epsom, England, he was discharged back to service on June 8th. However, due to bunions on both feet, which required further surgery, Joseph was back in hospital in September, 1917, and was not discharged until March 1918.

Joseph married Edith Caroline Godden, in the St.Pacras district Register Office, London, on December 23rd, 1918.

838300 Private Joseph William Henry returned to Canada aboard the Metagam, with his new wife, and was struck off strength of the C.E.F. in September 1919.

Incidentally, Joseph also listed his older brother, Harold (born 1893, also in Yorkshire) as next of kin: he too seemingly being a "home child" sent out to Canada in 1905. He was listed as 424157, Harold Hamlet, 11 Platoon, "C" Company, 45th Battalion, 2nd Brigade, who was serving in France. Sadly Harold was lost at Vimy, France, on 26th September 1916.

Credit and many thanks go George Auer for the above biography.