Prior to joining the army, Joseph Logan had been an employee of the Tantobie Co-operative Society in County Durham for sixteen years. He had done his apprenticeship with the society and stayed on to work for them afterwards. He joined the Durham Light Infantry, 11th Battalion as a private before being despatched to fight on the Western Front in France. He was serving alongside another employee of the Tantobie Society, A Cooke, who had also done his apprenticeship with the society.
Both Logan and Cooke were killed in action on 5 October 1916, possibly at the same time, but their deaths were not reported in the Co-operative News until nine months afterwards. Logan was 30 years old at the time of his death. The dates and location of the deaths suggest that the two were killed in the Battle of the Somme. This was one of the bloodiest battles of the war and whole battalions were wiped out. The British Army gained around five miles of territory but at a cost of around 420,000 deaths. German casualties were an estimated 650,000 and the battle is often described as slaughter. General Haig, the leader of the British Expeditionary Forces, was given the nickname ‘The Butcher of the Somme.’
Co-operative News, 7 July 1917, page 666.
WWI co-operative voices
This post is part of ‘WWI co-operative voices’ which shares the stories of co-operative workers and members during the conflict. In order to mark the centenary of the WWI, the Rochdale Pioneers Museum is staging an exhibition entitled ‘From shop floor to front line’ and the accounts of these soldiers, shop workers and conscientious objectors will run alongside it. They are tales of death, duty and of those who chose not to fight.
Through ‘WWI co-operative voices’ we will be releasing new posts about these individuals throughout the duration of the exhibition (due to open mid-May 2015 and run until May 2016). Read about the co-operative movement’s involvement in a war that shook the world by selecting a name from the column on the left. You can also follow us on social media for regular updates.
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We wish to thank the Heritage Lottery Fund for supporting the ‘From shop floor to front line’ exhibition and project.