PRIVATE JOE CONNELLY
THE QUEEN'S ROYAL WEST SURREY REGIMENT
13TH SEPTEMBER 1918 AGE 18
BURIED: ESQUELBECQ MILITARY CEMETERYFRANCE, FRANCE
"Wee Joe" was not just his parents' fond diminutive but a physical description since Joe Connelly, a flat race jockey, was small. Born and brought up in the tiny community of Bridge of Dee, part of the parish of Balmghie, Castle Douglas, Kirkudbrightshire, where his father was a horse dealer, by 1918 Joe was working for a racing stable near Aston Tirrold on the Berkshire Downs. From here he joined up in March 1918 and was serving with the 2nd/4th The Queen's (Royal West Surrey) Regiment when he died of wounds in a Canadian Casualty Clearing Station at Esquelbecq.
The 2/4th Queen's War Dairy throws no light on Joe Connelly's fate. The Battalion spent the 11th, 12th and 13th September in the line without incident. The weather was continuously wet but the enemy was generally quiet, "confining his activities to M.G. fire, occasional bursts of artillery fire, sniping and very little use of trench mortars".
Nevertheless the casualty summary for September 1918 records that two officers and 14 other ranks were killed and one other rank died of wounds - presumably this was "Wee Joe".