Joseph had been born in Stockport, the son of Robert & Margaret. He was, almost certainly, related to John Beard and Walter Beard, probably their brother. He is understood to have been a professional soldier having served a total of 16 years with the Cheshires. If he was their brother, then information established for John Beard, indicates that the three men worked for the same employer. This might suggest that Joseph had left the army sonly shortly before war was declared and was recalled as a reservist.
He was take prisoner in the Cheshires first engagement of the war, on 24 August 1914, described here.
His official next of kin was his married sister, Mrs Kinsey, 38 Canal Street, Waterloo, Stockport, and, in July 1918, she received notification from the War Office of the circumstances of Joseph’s death as furnished by the German Government – “The British prisoner of war, Joseph Beard, born on 21 July 1886, at Stockport, succumbed on 16 April to injuries received while making an attack on a sentry. Beard was engaged on the 15th at a work camp in unloading railway trucks. For some unexplained reason and notwithstanding repeated orders from the sentry, he refused to continue his work. On the sentry proceeding to enforce his order with his rifle, the prisoner threatened him with his shovel. Being attacked for the third time, the sentry warded off the shovel at the same time striking Beard with the butt end of his rifle on the head, causing such wounds as resulted in the death of the deceased on the following day."
The Stockport Advertiser, in its edition of 26 July 1918, comments “The above is, of course, the German official version of the unfortunate affair and cannot well be questioned. It seems strange, however, that Private Beard, who was always a quiet and gentlemanly soldier should meet such a fate after serving so long a term in the enemy’s hands.”
After the War, an official Committee on the Treatment of British Prisoners of War undertook a series of interviews and reports concerning over 7000 prisoners, but Joseph’s case was not one of them and the facts of the incident are now lost to history.