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Joseph was born in Wolverhampton in 1892, the son of George and Martha Denning. In 1901 the family were living at 11 St Mary Street, Wolverhampton. By 1911 Joseph was living with his widowed mother at 31 Oak Street, Wolverhampton, along with siblings George, Annie, Alice, and Harry, sisters-in-law Winnifred and Clara and nieces Lucy and Rosy. Joseph was a brass caster at H. B. Whitehouse & Sons foundry in Coseley. Joseph married Ada A. Davies in Wolverhampton in 1914. At some point he was also employed at Skitt’s, Temple Street, Wolverhampton.

He enlisted first in the Royal Army Medical Corps (number 43853) and then in the 2nd Battalion of the South Wales Borderers in 1914 (number 24740). He went with his regiment to the Dardanelles but was wounded, and died of his wounds whilst at sea on the hospital ship Salto on 20 September 1915. This was reported in the Midland Counties Express on 30 October 1915. He is comemmorated on the Helles Memorial.