First World War Roll of Honour

Joseph Andrew Martin Blogg (1881-1918) was born on 25 September 1881 in Cheddington, Buckinghamshire, the son of Joseph and Sophia Blogg. He had a twin brother, William, and an older sister called Hannah. The family later moved to Grantchester, near Cambridge and Joseph took up a position at Downing College as a cycle cleaner and shoe black. In early 1907 he married Rose Squires, a widow who may also have worked at the College, and they had two children, Gladys and Percy, born in December 1907 and November 1910.

Following the outbreak of war, Joseph appears to have continued working at the College for some time before enlisting in the 1/1st Cambridgeshire Regiment as a Private. The College’s Governing Body minutes in June 1916 reported his enlisting and agreed that ‘an allowance at the rate of £2 a quarter be paid to his wife’ in his absence. Joseph went out to France, originally as a stretcher-bearer, and on 25 April 1918, he was awarded the Military Medal (awarded to those below commissioned rank) for gallantry in the field at Voormezeele, a village which fell to the advancing German forces during the 1918 Spring Offensive. The College Minutes recorded the Governing Body’s congratulations to Private Blogg when the news reached them in June 1918.

In a strange twist of fate, both Joseph and his twin brother William, also serving in France although not together, were both wounded within half an hour of each other on the morning of 28 August 1918. William survived after his leg was amputated, but Joseph died of his wounds on 4 September 1918. A pension of £2 per quarter for five years was voted for his widow by the College when they heard of his death.

Private Blogg is buried in Daours Communal Cemetery Extension in the Somme region of France. He is also remembered on war memorials in Grantchester and in St Philips Church on Mill Road in Cambridge. As the only ‘servant’, or member of staff, of Downing College who died during the First World War, he was not originally named on the College’s war memorial, which listed the names of ‘Members’ of the College (ie students, alumni and Fellows), although he was commemorated with these men during the College’s memorial service in February 1920. This year, to mark the centenary of Private Blogg’s death, the College has commissioned a new plaque to commemorate him alongside the other men who gave their lives. The new plaque, etched in bronze and mounted on an oak panel like the original above it, has been left uncoated to tarnish naturally.

 

Sources

Governing Body minutes, 1916-1918

Roll of Honour - Grantchester

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

 

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Roll of Honour - Grantchester