Pte 5722 Joseph Henry Broad

Joseph Henry Broad was born in 1880 at Mile End. He became a brush maker at the Arthur Street Brushworks and to earl a little extra money, on 10 October 1898, he joined the territorial 4th battalion of the Essex Regiment as Private 7266 Broad.

Arthur obviously thought that life in the army was better than at the brushworks for on 1 December 1898 he joined the regular Army becoming Pte 5722 with the 1st Battalion Essex Regiment.

After training Arthur served with the Battalion on home service and from 25 September 1900 until 4 April 1902 he served with the Battalion in South Africa fighting in the Boer War at the conclusion of which he was awarded the Kings South African Medal with 2 Clasps and the Queens South African medal with 4 Clasps.

After this service he transferred to the 2nd Battalion Essex regiment for and extended service at Malta and in a home posting before retiring with a small pension on 23 April 1910.

While on home posting he met Ada Pricilla Kidney who he married in May 1909 shortly before he retired.

Once Joseph retired he and Ada lived in  rented accommodation in Gold Street , Stepney. Life was tough for home and for many ex soldiers seeking work. He was up early every morning looking for work but rarely found anything and became depressed. His income was an Army pension of 6 pence a day and the couple were even forced to borrow on the basis of that pension.

On 16 April 1910 , Ada went out leaving Joseph crying even though she told him to cheer up and on her return found Joseph dead having committed suicide using his belt on the bedpost.

At the inquest Ada said that they had been married for 11 months and despite his efforts, Joseph rarely found work . They lived on bread and butter although on Friday they had shared a bloater and on Saturday a halfpennyworth of fried potatoes. The rent had been paid that morning leaving them with just two farthings. The landlady said that both were very respectable and that she had never seen any beer go into their rooms.

The jury returned a verdict of  death by suicide while temporarily insane and they took the unusual step held a collection for the widow to which contributions were made by other people present.

After Josephs death, Ada moved into lodgings and worked as a tailors before remarrying in 1913 and having two children by her second husband.