Joseph Pitt was born 30 Oct 1879 at 93 Dyer St, Cirencester, Glos. His father Daniel Rutter Pitt was a provision merchant. His mother, Annie Bowen Pitt (nee Burtt) had been born in Fulbeck Low Fields, they married in Gainsborough (where her mother was born) area in 1866. However, in 1891 his mother was in Weston Super Mare, living on her own means with her children and a servant. By 1901 his father was living with a (Mary) Annie Weeks in Breaches Lane, Bishops Cleave, Glos (he left her all his money when he died in Gotherington, Glos in 1927). He is shown as a retired cheese factor.
In 1901 Joseph was living in Fulbeck with his uncle and aunt, Henry and Annie Burtt. By 1917 Joseph was a horseman living at Brandon Lodge, working for his cousin Henry Keymer Burtt.
Joseph signed up for the Army at Grantham on 18 Jan 1917, volunteering to be a driver in the Royal Field Artillery. He was single, 5ft 8” tall, 38” chest, 149lb. However, he was exempted from combatant service on conscientious grounds, presumably through being a Quaker like his mother's family. His service record shows that he was 'deemed to have been enlisted 2 Mar 1916', so he may have lodged his contentious objector status earlier; he'd had an Army medical in Oct 1916. It's not clear if he volunteered or was called up (on 1 Feb 1917) but he was posted to the Army Service Corps as a Horse Transport driver (T/294041). His next of kin was his mother, then living at 92 Newbridge Rd, Bath.
He was on home service at Blackheath before embarking for France at Southampton on 17 Mar 1917 (on the troopship SS Huntscraft). He arrived at Le Havre on 18th Mar. He stayed in France until 10 Feb 1918, having been awarded a good conduct medal on 1 Feb.
He was discharged from the Army (to the Z class reserve) on 6 Apr 1919 (age 39) from Harrowby Camp, Grantham and returned to Brandon Lodge.
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