Corporal Joseph Dignam Martin


Joseph Dignam Martin was born on 31 December 1886 at 12 Venice Street, Belfast, the first of four children of warehouse manager Edmund Martin and his wife Josephine (née Dignam). By the time of the 1901 Census he was living in Waveney Road, Ballymena, with his parents (none of his siblings having survived), his father working as the manager of a shirt and collar factory and laundry.

By 1908 Joseph was living at Mullingar Cottage, Chapelizod, Dublin, and working as a laundry manager. On 16 September that year he married Mary Adelaide Haithwaite in the Ballymena Baptist Church. The couple had at least three children over the next seven years.

Soon after this Joseph moved to England. At the time of the 1911 Census he was living as a boarder at 4 Meadow View, Whitehaven, Cumberland, and working as a laundry manager. He later moved to Bradford, where he worked at the West End Laundry, Whetley Hill.

Martin enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Antrim on 7 February 1916 (No.2105 – later Corps of Hussars No.71696). (One record gives his enlistment date as 8 December 1915.) While in training, however, he fell ill, suffering from "debility and heart trouble". He was treated as an outpatient at the camp hospital at Antrim for the remainder of the year, and at various other times until the end of the war, the illness preventing him from being sent on overseas service.

Martin was promoted to lance corporal on 28 March 1917, and acting corporal on 29 January 1918. On 6 March 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.

After the war Martin returned to Bradford and resumed work as a laundry manager. At the time of the 1939 Register he was living at 68 Whetley Hill, Bradford, with his mother and three of his children. Later that year he married Elizabeth Hadfield. Two years later he was living at 6 Boyd Avenue, Southall, Middlesex. He died in the Hillingdon County Hospital on 11 December 1941.