Joseph's parents, Thomas and Annie, originated from Ireland but had lived in the Marple area since at least the early 1870s and, as recorded by the 1901 Census, had five children. 15 year old Joseph worked as a cotton spinner, no doubt at the local Hollins Mill.
He had emigrated to Australia in about 1910 but returned to Britain when war was declared in August 1914. He had not been in touch with his family for several years and made no contact with them on his return. After training, Joseph went overseas on 6 March 1915. The Battalion was attached to the Sirhind Brigade of the Lahore Division of the Indian Army.
On 1 May, Joseph and his mates attacked a position known as Hill 29 (a spur of high ground, 2 kilometres west of St Julien - a village just to the north east of the Belgian town of Ypres). The area had been captured in the German advance a few days before on 22 April. There are few details of the day recorded but the attack failed - the King's had suffered over 40 casualties - dead, wounded or missing.
Joseph was amongst the wounded, having been shot in the chest and both legs. He was evacuated from the battlefield and will have received treatment at a Casualty Clearing Station (field hospital). His condition was stabilised there and it was possible to bring him back to Netley Hospital in Southampton. The family now received a telegram saying he was gravely ill and his sister travelled to Southampton. Unfortunately, Joseph died before she could see him.
Further information about Joseph is contained in the book "Remembered" by P Clarke, A Cook and J Bintliff.