Joshua was born in Morocco to a Sephardic Jewish family that was part of the British community there. Joshua’s father was a shipping agent, Haim Cansino. He married his wife, Samita (Siney, Sammy) ‘Minnie’, née Belisha, in Manchester in 1875, but their eight children were born in Morocco.
The family moved to Prestwich, Manchester, where Joshua studied at Cheetham Higher Grade School. Joshua’s brothers included: David (b. c1886-90), m. Lilly J Arditti in Prestwich, 1920, d.1965 Heywood, Lancs) and Moses (b.c. 1896-1900, m. a Miss Carvalho in London in the 1920s). There were two sisters, including Bettina was born c. 1881-5, m. Charles Franklin in Prestwich in 1923, d. 1959 (see Levy-Johnen family tree on Ancestry).
In Manchester, Cansino was captain of the Jewish Lads Brigade and was described as having rendered service to the Jewish community, and as being ‘strongly attached to his faith’. Although he travelled abroad and moved to Sussex, he remained in close contact with his family in Manchester (as did his wife who gave birth to their daughter there).
Joshua enrolled at Manchester University where he gained a second-class BSc honours degree in Engineering before studying for a MSc in Technology Applied Chemistry. Joshua, like his future wife, Beryl, was politically active, and attended a meeting to select the Conservative candidate for Manchester. After graduating, Joshua continued studying and lecturing in Berlin and in 1914 he was in Paris, where he married Beryl, and he was still there when war broke out.
It is unclear how Joshua and Beryl met. She is not listed as a military nurse, although it’s possible she was a volunteer of some kind. She was not a student at Manchester University, so it’s possible that they met through friends, family, or the Conservative party.
In April 1914, Joshua married his fiancee- Simha Beryl Johnston in Paris. Beryl was born in Horsham (20.11.1891-1971). Her mother Alice Marshall was from Berkshire and her father, James, born in Hobart, Tasmania, was a retired Royal Navy Lieutenant. By 1901, Beryl was living with her parents at 8 Westcourt Terrace, Worthing, around the corner from her future marital home at 89 Westcourt Road.
Beryl and Joshua’s story contains elements of assimilation. There is no indication that Beryl or her family were Jewish as their names are entirely anglicised as far back as her grandparents’ generation (her paternal grandfather was a farm steward in Berkshire). However, on marriage a Jewish forename is recorded (which is not on the census). This may suggest that she was Jewish, or converted on marriage, and the Jewish Chronicle makes several later references to her husband and daughter.
Returning to the UK, Beryl and Joshua made their home in Worthing, around the corner from Beryl’s parents. Joshua enlisted in the Auxiliary Forces, 4th Royal Sussex Regiment. He was temporarily promoted to 2nd Lieutenant on 15.12.1915, when he was serving in the 22nd Battalion of the Manchester Regiment.
Joshua enlisted in the Royal Sussex Regiment, obtained the rank of sergeant and applied for a commission. He was gazetted in November 1915 to the Manchester Regiment and went to the front in March 1916 with the 22nd Battalion.
During a raid on a German trench, south east of Mametz, he was killed while attempting to rescue a wounded officer who was entangled in the enemy’s wire. He died in Bulgar Point, Mametz, France. His Colonel in a letter to his parents wrote, “He died in the act of performing a splendid deed in the face of almost certain death”. His ‘great friend’ and fellow officer Alfred Bland gave a tribute to Joshua.
He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval monument, Thiepval Cemetery, Picardie, France (Pier and Face 13 A and 14 C).
He is commemorated on several memorials which reflect his university career, his brief time in Worthing and his membership of the Sephardic community.
A striking personality full of intellect and bonhomie, he was the ‘most dearly beloved husband of Beryl Cansino’ and the father of a daughter, Jocelyn.
Joshua Haim Cansino (1890-1916) was a promising scientist who ‘was killed in action on June 2nd 1916 whilst endeavouring to save a wounded officer’. After Joshua’s death, his effects of £187 were left to his brothers Abraham and Isaac Cansino.
Five months after Joshua’s death, Beryl gave birth to a daughter, Jocelyn Bettina Cansino (13.11.1916 -2013?), named her for aunt Bettina. In 1920, a donation was made to the Worthing war memorial fund in Jocelyn’s name ‘In loving memory of Daddy’.
In 1922, Beryl wrote to the War Office asking for her late husband’s medals. Despite their loss, mother and daughter remained active, with Jocelyn featuring in a ‘swimming exhibition’ aged 8, and Beryl running a skittles stall with her mother at Conservative party meetings during the 1920s. Jocelyn later married but returned home to live with her mother by 1939.
As Joshua’s family were an ‘esteemed’ Sephardic family, connected to the Spanish Portuguese congregations in Manchester and London (Bevis Marks), Joshua is therefore commemorated on memorials in both synagogues.
Joshua is also commemorated on the following memorials:
- Manchester University (WMR 16001) University of Manchester War Memorial, Main Quadrangle and Manchester Municipal College of Technology Memorial in the Sackville Building, University of Manchester.
- Chapel Road, Worthing, WMR147
- Thiepval memorial, France
- Spanish And Portuguese Jewish Congregation (WMR 11628)
- Withington Congregation Of Spanish And Portuguese Jews WW1 And WW2 (WMR 43953)
- Possible (same name & rank but said to be WW2) – Manchester Congregation of Spanish & Portugese Jews WW2 Roll of Honour (WMR 75379), West Didsbury
1 Both quotes are from the announcement of Joshua’s death, Worthing Gazette, 14.6.1916. Joshua is mentioned on ‘Our Roll of Honour’ in the Worthing Gazette on 14.6.1916, 27.9.1916 and thereafter.
2 Degree announcement - Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 2.7.1907, plus Rev Valentine’s tribute and http://www.ww1.manchester.ac.uk/roll-of-honour/joshua-haim-cansino/
3 ‘Conservative Jews’, Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 21.4.1908. Cansino is among those supporting the hard-line Joynson Hicks over Winston Churchill. At an earlier meeting, Churchill gained the support of many in the Jewish community, as he promised to take action on naturalisation and the Aliens Act 1905, which restricted Jewish immigration, whereas Hicks provoked ‘Jewish hostility’ for his support for the controversial Act. Hicks was however elected in 1908.
4 Joshua Harold (sic) Cansino appears under ‘Auxiliary Forces, 4th Royal Sussex Regiment’, on a page listing prisoners, Worthing Gazette, 7.4.1915.
6 London Gazette, 29.12.1915 7 GroConsular Marriages, 1849-1965, range 1911-1915. Date from http://www.ww1.manchester.ac.uk/roll-of-honour/joshua-haim-cansino/
8 Beryl’s birth recorded in 4th quarter 1891, baptised 4.1.1892. In 1891, the parents were living at 61 Trafalgar Rd, Horsham with their one-year old son James who seems to have died. The family had moved to Worthing by the time of the 1901 census. We Were There Too/Medal card gives 89 Westcourt Road as Joshua’s in 1915 and as Beryl’s address as 1922, while Beryl’s address is given as 87 Westcourt Rd in 1939 register. The Book of Honour records Joshua’s address as 64 Faulkner Street, Manchester in 1915 (presumably near his parents who had/were living at Bedford Lodge, Broughton, Manchester).
9 Jocelyn(e) B Cansino was born at Hope House, 18 Bignor St, Manchester (i.e. near her in-laws). Worthing Gazette, 22.11.1916. Official birth records confirm that she was born in the 4th quarter of 1916 in Lancashire and DoB is given in Genealogia hebraica. There is a death record for a Ms Jocelyn Bettina Greenhill at Whitstable, Kent which, if it is the same person, would have meant she lived to 97.
10 Worthing Gazette, 16.6.1920
11 We Were There Too. Medal Roll. He was awarded the Victory and British Medals.
12 Swimming exhibition – Littlehampton Gazette, 7.9.1923, Conservative rally - Worthing Gazette, 23.6.1928, etc.
13 1939 register, both women were living at 87 Westcourt Road, Worthing, with a young boy, Jeffrey ’Henry’ Hawker, who was at school aged 9. Jocelyn was referred to as ‘Jocelyn Glover (Consino, Greenhill)’ and Beryl, who was 48, was described as fulfilling ‘household duties’.
14 British Armed Forces & Overseas Births & Baptisms. The Consulate records for Morocco cover a range of years, rather than giving an exact date.
17 Rev Valentine’s eulogy from We Were There Too. https://www.jewsfww.uk/joshua-haim-cansino-1513.php
18 Reference to Jocelyn Bettina Cansino, Jewish Chronicle, 23.3.1917. Joshua listed as a Jewish war casualty, ibid., 16.6.1916. Several references to Isaac.