Regimental records indicate that Joseph was born in the Wigan area. Other than his commemoration on the Stockport War Memorial, his connection with the area is unknown. He was married, to Elizabeth Ann, and it is thought that, at the time of the Great War, she was living in Stockport. However, by the early 1920s, she had moved to 24 Densmore Street, Failsworth.
Joseph's service number confirms that he was a regular soldier. The 2nd Cheshires were serving in India when War was declared in August 1914. They arrived back in Britain on Christmas Eve and there was only time for the men to have a few days leave before they had to return to camp to prepare to go to France on 16 January 1915.
For some reason, Joseph didn't use his real surname in the army and served as Joseph Edwards. This was not all that uncommon at the time. He may always have been known as Edwards, being brought up by other than his natural parents, but not formally adopted. Or, perhaps, joining the army under a false name was an escape from something in his life.
Joseph was, almost certainly, seriously wounded during a German attack on 8 May, described here. He will have been evacuated from the front line to one of the several Casualty Clearing Stations based at Hazebrouck. At this field hospital, military surgeons will have done all they could to save his life, but without success.