The 1901 Census records Joseph, then aged 13, as having been born in Stockport. He was working as an errand boy. Later, he married Mary Ann and they lived at 65 York Street, Edgeley.
He enlisted in the army, probably in the late autumn/early winter of 1914/15, originally being allocated 4281 as his service number. At some later point, he was given the service number of 15663, suggesting he might have had a period away from the Battalion. In 1917, all Territorial troops were given new six digit numbers.
The 5th Battalion were Pioneers - fighting troops but those also charged with the construction of defences. On the day he was killed, the Cheshires were in the vicinity of the village of Guemappe, some 15 miles to the south west of Arras. "A" and "B" Companies were repairing support and communication trenches at a section of the line known as Cavalry Farm. Although no mention is made, in the Battalion's War Diary, of what happened, it is presumed that German artillery shelled the position. Two soldiers were killed outright and a further 19 wounded (12 with only minor injuries).
Joseph is recorded as having died of wounds. If this is the case, then he had probably only been evacuated from the trench as far as the Regimental (First) Aid Post, just behind the front line, before he died. The cemetery where he is buried is only a couple of kilometres from Guemappe.