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The son of John and Florence Green, Joseph was born in Wolverhampton in 1893. In 1901 Joseph was living with his parents at 30 Bushbury Lane , alongside his brother John and sister Florence. In 1911 they were living at 8 Leicester Terrace, Bushbury Lane, and Joseph had a further four siblings, Sarah, Frank, James Harold, and Ada Ethel By this date Joseph had become a fitters labourer on the railways.
At the age of 19, Joseph enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery on 17 June 1912. His address was given as 11 Railway Cottages, Bushbury and his military papers confirm he was working for London and North Western Railway. He served with the fourth Battalion of the Staffordshire Battery, and his service number was 944. On 23 April 1913, Joseph signed a statement stating that he would agree to serve in the future if necessary. He was recalled the army, rising to the rank of Corporal in the Railway Operating Division of the Royal Engineers (service numbers 150459 and 198516). On 30 August 1916 he was tested in the workshops of the Railway Operating Division and proved himself to be a skilled engine driver.

He was awarded the 1914-18 Star, and was demobilised on 18 December 1918. Joseph died in 1980 at the age of 93.