Joel was born in Bilston (registered at Wolverhampton) in 1899, the son of Joel and Elizabeth Ashcroft. In 1901, the three of them were living at 78 Stafford Street, Willenhall. By 1911, they were at 39 Salop Street, Bradley, near Bilston.
The family moved to Pontypool, Monmouthshire, where Joel enlisted in the 10th Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers (number 52236). He was killed in action on 21 March 1918. He is remembered at the Arras Memorial.