- Name: Joseph LISTER
- D.O.B: 19th Oct, 1886
- D.O.A: 9th Oct, 1917
- D.O.D: 19th Jan, 1963
- Award: Victoria Cross
- Occupation at time of action: Sergeant, 1st Battalion The Lancashire Fusiliers
- Book: The Complete History - Volume 2
Poelcapelle, Belgium 9 October 1917
9 October 1917
The First World War 1917
On 9 October 1917, in the Battle of Poelcapelle, one of a series of advances intended to drive the Germans off the Passchendaele Ridge, the British sought to exploit the advantage they had gained in the Battle of Broodseinde five days earlier (see above) but only made small gains. The Guards Division attacked the German line near Houthulst Forest, northeast of Langemark, where there had already been fighting a month earlier. Lance Sergeant J H Rhodes distinguished himself in the action by capturing an enemy pillbox. To the south of the Guards Division, 4th Battalion The Worcestershire Regiment advanced north of the Ypres-Staden railway line. Its first objective was Namur Crossing, where the remains of a road ran beneath the railway. In this fighting Private F G Dancox took a German pillbox single- handed. Meanwhile 1st Battalion The Lancashire Fusiliers and 2nd Battalion The Royal Fusiliers attacked south of the railway line. In this action, Sergeant J Lister, 1st Battalion The Lancashire Fusiliers, captured a German stronghold at Olga House, while Sergeant J Molyneux, 2nd Battalion The Royal Fusiliers, dealt with a series of obstacles around Condé House. South of the Ypres-Staden railway line, 6th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment advanced through Poelcapelle itself but met strong opposition from a German position near a former brewery. Corporal W Clamp succeeded in capturing one of the enemy pillboxes but was subsequently killed while trying to flush out snipers. However, by the end of the day the Germans had been able to reoccupy many of their former positions.
For most conspicuous bravery in attack, when advancing to the first objective, his Company came under machine gun fire from the direction of two “Pill-boxes.” Seeing that the galling fire would hold up our advance and prevent our troops keeping up with the barrage, Sjt. Lister dashed ahead of his men and found a machine gun firing from a shell hole in front of the “Pillbox.” He shot two of the enemy gunners, and the remainder surrendered to him. He then went on to the “Pill-box” and shouted to the occupants to surrender. They did so with the exception of one man, whom Sjt. Lister shot dead; whereupon about 100 of the enemy emerged from shell holes further to the rear and surrendered. This Non-commissioned Officer’s prompt act of courage enabled our line to advance with hardly a check and to keep up with the barrage, the loss of which might have jeopardised the whole course of the local battle.