Joseph Fern was born in Wolverhampton in 1887, the son of Timothy and Selina Fern. On the 1901 census he appears at 172 Old Heath, Heath Town, with his parents, his brothers Alfred, James, Thomas and William, and sister Mary. The 13-year-old Joseph’s occupation is given as “Grinds shovels”. Later he became an edge-tool polisher at Chillington Tool Works. He married Hilda Tyrer in 1910 and the couple went on to have one child.
Soon after the outbreak of war, he enlisted with the 6th Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment (number 9121) . In August 1915 he transferred to a vacancy in the 4th Battalion in France, but had not been there long before he was posted as missing. Early the following year, it was confirmed to Mrs Fern that her husband had died, on 6 August 1915. An article appeared in the Wolverhampton Chronicle on 8 March 1916. He is commemorated at the Helles Memorial in Turkey.