Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Salute to First World War Hero Who Captured 100 Soldiers

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Salute to First World War Hero Who Captured 100 Soldiers

Article excerpt

HIS astonishing bravery has been recognised in the town where he settled, but now his home city has saluted a national hero.

Sergeant Joseph Lister was just 30 years old when he single-handedly secured the surrender of 100 German soldiers amid the torrid trench fighting of the First World War.

A simple paving stone embossed with his name has been placed in Salford, at the entrance to a community centre in Broughton near the street where he was born.

His great-granddaughter Debbie Williamson travelled from Ireland for the ceremony and the Royal Fusiliers marched in his honour along Devonshire Street and Rigby Street, Higher Broughton.

Sgt Lister's courage earned him the Victoria Cross and was a key moment in the Third Battle of Ypres in Belgium.

Joseph was 29 when he enlisted in 1915. He was serving with the 1st Lancashire Fusiliers when he risked his life to save his comrades as they came under fire at Passchendaele Ridge in Belgium on October 9, 1917.

He and his battalion came under heavy machine gun fire from two dug-in guard posts. Despite being shot at, Joseph ran ahead of his men and found a machine gun firing from a concrete pillbox.

Joseph shot two of the enemy gunners and the rest surrendered to him. He then went on to the pillbox and shouted to the occupants to surrender. They did so with the exception of one man, whom he also shot dead. Another 100 men then emerged from shell holes behind the pillbox and surrendered.

The London Gazette in 1917 described his actions as 'most conspicuous bravery in attack' and said his 'prompt act of courage enabled our line to advance with hardly a check and to keep up with the barrage, the loss of which might have jeopardised the whole course of the local battle.' .

Joseph captured a post... his doing so Coun ' Joseph, although born in Salford in 1886, moved to Reddish Stockport, in 1901 and returned there after the war. …

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