One month after the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914 on 7th September, Joe decided to do his bit and jointed the Lancashire Fusiliers, his local regiment. He followed training in the South of England and had been promoted to Lance Corporal. On April 1916, he was posted to the 1ste Battalion in France following its return from the Gallipoli Campaign.
In July 1916, the Battalion took part in the Somme offensive. It is believed that Joe was recommended for the Distinguished Conduct Medal whilst in France, but details are not known. Throughout 1917 Joe saw considerable action. He was wounded on four separate occasions.
In August 1917, the Battalion moved to Elverdinge in Flanders in preparation for the offensive to be known as Third Ypres.
On 7th October they moved into the line to take part of the Battle of Poelcapelle, a key part of the Third Ypres Offensive.
On the evening of 8th October, the assault brigades began their approach marches. The final move was made in pitch darkness and heavy rain, so many soldiers did not reach their positions before zero hour.
The 1ste Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers attacked together with A and B Compagnies, but they met fierce resistance from a series of pillboxes, south and north of Olga House. While the Company Commander was deliberating on the risk of different attack strategies, Sergeant Joseph Lister went ahead of his men to silence a machine gun post in a shell-hole in front of the pillbox. After he shot the gunners, he shouted at the pillbox garrison at Olga House to surrender; one refused and got shot, one hundred Germans appeared from the pillbox and nearby shell-holes and surrendered.
This single-handed action allowed the Battalion to continue its advance behind the barrage and to achieve their first objective.
For this gallantry, Joe was awarded the Victoria Cross by HM King George V at Buckingham Palace on 17 December 1917.
On 15 April 1918 Joe was awarded the Médaille Militaire of Belgium for distinguished conduct.
In 1918 Joe continued serving in the 1ste Battalion and in April 1918 he suffered serious gassing.
In 1919 he was demobilized and resumed his civilian life.
At the outbreak of WWII he re-joined The Lancashire Fusiliers as a Physical Training Instructor.
Introduction by Mr. Jo Lottegier, Expert Tourism and WWI.
Welcome by Mr. Alain Wyffels, Mayor of Langemark-Poelkapelle.
Historical explanation: The Lancashire Fusiliers in Third Ypres by Colonel Mike Glover, Lancashire HQ Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.
'I vow to Thee My Country' by The Shorncliffe Military Wives Choir.
Eulogy by Mr. Michael Handley (Family member) and Mr. Robert Missinne (Flemish translation).
Reading by Councillor Peter Connor, Right Worshipful, the Ceremonial Mayor of the City of Salford.
Act of Remembrance by Reverend Gillian Trinder, Chaplain St. George's Memorial Church, Ypres.
The Last Post by Burglers from the Fire department of Langemark-Poelkapelle and The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.
The Exhortation by Mr. Carl Decaluwé, Governer of West Flanders, followed by One Minute Silence and the Reveille.
'In Flanders Fields' by the Shorncliffe Military Wives Choir.
Unveiling of the Monument by The Governer of West Flanders, Colonel Mike Glover, The Major of Salford and Alan Dean (family member).
The Kohima Epitaph by Councillor Linda Holt, Mayor of Stockport.
Prayer, The Lord's Prayer, Act of Commitment and Blessing.
The Laying of Wreaths concluded the ceremony.
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