Joseph Thomas Hartland was born in Wolverhampton in 1883. In the 1901 census, he appears with his aunt and uncle, Thomas and Annie Nicholls, at 39 Baker Street, together with his cousins, William, Thomas and John. Joseph Hartland is listed as a carter. He later worked at the Chillington Edge Tool works, as well as being involved in cricket and the high jump.
Joseph served as a reservist with the 2nd Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment, and had nearly completed his time, when he was called up and sent with the first Expeditionary Force to France. Previously, he had served in India and Malta. He was killed in action. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has two men by the name of Joseph Hartland of the Worcestershire Regiment, one (number 9721) killed on 20 September 1914, and the other (number 7888) killed on 20 October 1914. There is not much background information on either man to confirm which is the correct one. (either way, the Express & Star article incorrectly has the date as 2 October 1914, but given that it is only one digit out, this seems to make the 20 October more likely).