Joseph originated from the Stockport area and had joined the Marines as a young man. In 1910, he returned to the area and married Sarah Green at All Saints Church, Heaton Norris. They returned to his home base at Gosport, where they lived at 45 Melville Road. They would have two children together. At some point in his career, Joseph had the honour of serving aboard the Royal Yacht and, prior to the outbreak of the War, he had been working at Portsmouth as a Marine gym instructor
War was declared on 4 August 1914 and on 20 September the Marines landed at Dunkirk with orders to move north to assist with the defence of Antwerp, reaching the city on the night of 3 October. They immediately occupied hastily dug trenches but, within 48 hours, it was clear that the German attack was in such strength that there was no option but for the British and Belgian troops to retreat. Many of the Marines were taken prisoner and others crossed into Holland where they were interned for the rest of the War. Joseph and others managed to successfully fall back and, shortly afterwards, arrived back in Britain.
British troops started to invade the Turkish peninsula at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 and quickly established themselves around Cape Helles at the southern tip. Joseph and his comrades were in a second wave of landings, on the 29th. They arrived at what was now called ANZAC Cove and deployed to assist the Australian and New Zealand troops already there.
Many of the fatalities suffered by the Battalion between 29 April and 6 May have been officially recorded as happening on the 6th. This was a day after the men had been relieved from the action and, as such, it cannot be said for certain when Joseph was killed. The most likely date is 3 May. The day before, the Marines had been held in reserve for an attack by ANZAC forces intended to capture high ground adjacent to Pope’s Hill. At about 2.30am, they were ordered forward, not realising that the ANZAC attack had already failed and the troops were falling back. The Marines charged up Razor-Back Hill only to be met by the full force of the Turkish machine guns. Very many were killed and injured. It proved much too dangerous to try to recover the bodies.