Joseph had been born in Glossop, the son of Harry and Fanny. In about 1910, the family moved to Ashton-under-Lyne. As a boy, Joseph had been a chorister at Holy Trinity Church, Ashton and still continued to travel there to worship after the family moved to 54 Church Lane, Marple.
He worked as a clerk for the Great Central Railway Company at their offices at London Road Station (now Piccadilly), Manchester. He enlisted in the army at Stockport in January 1915,originally being allocated the service number of 3967. He was later given a new number, 15092, suggesting he might have had a period away from the Battalion. In 1917, Territorial soldiers were all given new six-digit numbers.
Joseph's chief recreation was walking and on his last leave home he had walked from Marple to Buxton and back in a day (a round trip of 30 miles on today's roads).
The 1/5th Battalion were Pioneers - soldiers trained to fight but more usually employed digging trenches and constructing strongpoints. They would , however, still take part in attacks, but on the night of the 15/16 August 1917, they were carrying out their normal duties for the other Battalions of 56th Division who were attacking positions known as Glencorse Wood and Polygon Wood. The woods are some 6 kilometres east of the town centre of Ieper (then Ypres).
The Regimental History records "The night was a terrible one, the ground being so cut up by shell fire and the mud so deep and tenacious, that movement was almost impossible. Hostile shelling was so intense that little constructional work was feasible." The Battalion returned in the early morning "quite exhausted". By then four men, including 2nd Lieutenant Frederick Newton, had been killed. Joseph and 38 others were wounded. He had received shrapnel wounds to his left shoulder. He will have been taken from where he was injured to the Field Ambulance unit operating some three kilometres away, where he died. He is buried in the adjacent cemetery.
Further information about Joseph, including a photograph, can be found in the book "Remembered" by P Clarke, A Cook and J Bintliff.