Corporal Joseph Tyrrell

11 October 1916
Cpl Joseph Tyrrell  s/no 9887 D Coy 1st Bn York + Lanc
buried Struma Military Cemetery  plot VI E 13

Joseph was in no way a Suffolk boy, although you might find the surname familiar.  He was a distant cousin of mine, he fought with the York and Lancaster Regiment in the same operations as the Suffolks, and he is buried in the Struma Military Cemetery as were the Suffolks.

He was born in Sheffield where his father and grandfather had been coopers.  He hadn’t married, and in 1911 I found him as a servant to a ‘crumpet and muffin maker’ in Sheffield.  He had enlisted on 7 April 1911, less than a week after that census had been taken.

The Yorks and Lancasters had been ordered to attack Barakli Zuma on 11 October 1916.  The order was to “drive the enemy out of the village” if possible, but not to the extent they were unable to withdraw.  They met with fierce resistance long before they reached the target village, machine guns in ‘Gypsy Village’ which is just south of Barakli Zuma, and Bulgarian troops brought in from villages north and east of Barakli Zuma.  The Yorks and Lancasters lost about 30% of their fighting force that day, some were buried at Struma but many are merely remembered on the Doiran Memorial.

The photograph shows clearly how well the local gardeners keep these cemeteries.  The ground outside is rough and parched but inside the grass is beautifully mown, the edges are clear, and the planting discreet – softening but not overwhelming.