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Joseph was born in Wolverhampton in 1885. By 1901 he was boarding and working as a gardener at Dobbs Lodge, Penn Road. He married Martha Jarvis in Wolverhampton in 1908. By 1911, the couple were living at 37 Millfields Road, Bilston. Joseph was a horse driver working for a steel works. The couple had four children – Alice F. (1912), Joseph A. (1914), James E. (1918) and Ethel M. (1920).

Joseph enlisted in the South Staffordshire Regiment (service number 11229), first serving in France from 20 December 1915. He rose to the rank of Lance Corporal, but was wounded and eventually discharged on 2 November 1917. He received the Silver War Badge (number 267744) on 31 October 1917. Unfortunately, he died in 1920, and as he is listed on the official Wolverhampton Roll of Honour (although not on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site), his death was presumably attributed to his war service.