Shanks, Joseph (No. 1465491)

Shanks, Joseph


No. 1465491, 539 Battery, 157 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery

Killed in a motorcycle accident on Monday 26 February 1945 (aged 34)


Southend-on-Sea (Sutton Road) Cemetery, Essex, England (Plot R Grave 12164)


Commonwealth War Graves Commission


Joseph Shanks was born in 1910 and he was a son of Thomas and Susan Shanks of Plymouth, where Thomas was the Harbour Constable.

Before the Second World War Joseph Shanks lived at 52 Mark Street, Newtownards and he worked as a knitter.

Joseph Shanks and Emma Mary Couser were married on 12 July 1933 in Donaghadee Roman Catholic Church and they lived at 64 Beatrice Road, Bangor.  Emma Mary Couser was a daughter of John Andrew Couser and Margaret Couser (nee Finlay) who were married on 17 April 1911 in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Mark’s).

In different records their surname is spelt Carser, Couser and Cowser.

John Andrew Couser’s brother James served in the Great War as Private James Carser (No. 3351) and he was killed at Gallipoli on 21 November 1915.

Joseph and Emma Shanks had one child, a daughter named Patsy, who was ten years old when her father died.  Joseph had joined up at the outbreak of war and he served with the Royal Artillery in the Middle East before being stationed in England.  The death of Gunner Joseph Shanks (No. 1465491) in Southend-on-Sea was reported in the 10 March 1945 edition of the County Down Spectator:

Working as a despatch rider, Gunner Shanks was killed when his motorcycle was in collision with a motor bus on 26 February 1945.  He was 34 years old and he died half an hour after the accident without regaining consciousness.

Gunner Joseph Shanks (No. 1465491) was buried in Southend-on-Sea (Sutton Road) Cemetery, Essex and there is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:


Joseph’s wife and daughter placed a Died on Active Service notice in the 17 March 1945 edition of the County Down Spectator and it contained the verse:

A loving husband, true and kind,

He ever was in heart and mind,

A tender parent too, as well,

While he with us on earth did dwell.