JOSEPH ROBLEY of 11th Bn. Border Regiment,1893-1918.


Joseph Robley, son of Thomas Robley and Sarah Lowis, was born at Lazonby in October, 1893. His grandparents were Joseph Robley and Jane Craggs.


On the 1901 census Joseph is recorded at Howgate Terrace, Kirkby Stephen with his parents, Thomas & Sarah. Brother Thomas and sisters Ada Mary & Sarah Margaret were born in Kirkoswald Parish (Scarrowmanwick).. Joseph was born in Lazonby, Cumberland. Two younger brothers John and William Lowis were born in Soulby, Westmorland

On the 1911 census Joseph is working at Hartley Castle, Kirkby Stephen: "Servant Single M 17 1894 Cowman on farm". Alice Watson is recorded at the same address: "Servant Single 18 1893 House Maid Domestic Westmorland Bongate". Joseph was to marry Alice, and it is interesting to find out, from this census, where they were likely to have met.


Joseph Robley married Alice Watson, daughter of Mark & Millicent Watson on 4th November 1916 at Dufton Parish Church Westmorland. According to the 1901 census Mark was a lead miner from Murton in Westmorland.


Joseph enlisted for Short Service (for the Duration of the War) on 18th December 1914 at Carlisle "The certificate of Magistrate or Attesting Officer" was signed at Appleby. He was sent to France on 23rd November 1915 on the same day as his brother, Thomas. Thomas was killed in action on July 1st 1916 on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Joseph was sent to his home depot on the 17th June 1916. He was discharged from the army on the 31st January 1917 as being physically unfit.

Extracts from "Descriptive Report on Enlistment".

NameJoseph Robley
Apparent Age21 Years 2 months
Height5 feet 10 and a half inches
Chest Girth when fully Expanded38 inches
Chest Range of Expansion3 inches
Name & Address of Next of KinThomas Robley, Soulby, Kirkby Stephen

Extracts from "Attestation of Joseph Robley". No. 11/17381. Lonsdale Battalion. The Border Regiment.

What is your full Address?Soulby, Kirkby Stephen.
What is your Trade or Calling?Farm Servant


Commonwealth War Graves. Casualty Details

NationalityUnited Kingdom
Regiment/ServiceBorder Regiment
Unit Text11th Bn.
Date of Death26/11/1918
Service No.17381
Additional InformationSon of Thomas and Sarah Robley, of Soulby, Kirkby Stephen, Westn. Husband of the late Alice Robley, of Laylands, Appleby.
Casualty TypeCommonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial ReferenceB1.CE.53.
CemeteryCockermouth Cemetery


Joseph & Alice lost a baby girl after his discharge from the army and her death was registered at Kendal in the September quarter of 1917. They moved to Cockermouth and in the Autumn of 1918 they had a boy, Joseph Albert who died when he was 2 days old.

Both Joseph & Alice died in the Spanish 'flu pandemic of 1918. They collapsed and died on the same day (26th November, 1918) within hours of each other. Joseph was 25 and Alice 26.

"COCKERMOUTH. In Cockermouth there are some hundreds of people suffering, in some cases whole households being affected. Some 20 of the soldiers who are working on the land in the neighbourhood are down with it, and in the case of one of them it has had a fatal result. Several deaths attributed to the epidemic and other causes, have occurred during the last week. On Thursday there were some ten burials in Cockermouth Cemetery. Simpson Hewetson, 52, cattle drover, living alone in The Goat, fell dead in Derwent Street, and Mr. Joseph Robley and his wife died within a few hours of each other on Monday."


Joseph was buried in Allerdale Council Cemetery, Cockermouth. His is an Imperial War Graves Stone. Plan location:B1. Plot no. 53.

26th NOVEMBER 1918 AGE 24

There is no stone for Alice, but she is buried beside him (Plot B1 52). Their 2 day old baby, Joseph Albert is buried near Joseph and Alice. (Plot B 211).

Researched by Jane Matthews, Carlisle. October 2009.