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Joseph was born on 11 July 1885 in Wolverhampton, the son of Arthur and Marianne Agnes Bates. He was the older brother of Norman Malcolm Bates. The brothers appear on the 1914-15 Roll of Honour of Queen Street Congregational Church, as they and their family attended the church.

Joseph attended the Higher Grade School Wolverhampton. On the 1901 census he was described as a commercial clerk, and on the 1911 census a lock maker’s clerk. He may well have worked for his father who appears to have changed from being a manager at a lock maker’s to having his own business.

Joseph joined the 1/5th South Staffordshire Battalion on 21 September 1914 in Walsall, with his brother Norman. His height as recorded was five foot eight and a half inches or five foot ten and a half inches tall. He became a Lance Corporal on 9 December 1914 and on 26 February 1915 given a commission as a second Lieutenant. Two years later, on 26 February 1917 he embarked for France, and at some point in his army career obtained the rank of Captain. On the 27 October 1917 he was seconded from the 2/5th Battalion to a training school, and on 24 February 1918 became assistant instructor VII Corps School. At the beginning of 1919 he appears to have had an illness from which he recovered, as his arrival in Germany was reported on 9 April 1919. He was demobbed on 25 September 1919.

Joseph married Winifred Lydia Worley (born 28 June 1887) on 3 February 1917 at St James’s Church, Lambeth. His father Arthur was one of the witnesses. Their eldest child Brenda was born in Wolverhampton in 1919. On the 1939 Register they were living at 127 Hungerford Road, Handsworth with Joseph’s occupation listed as ‘director hand fitting’. He died on 2 April 1970 at 14 Crandall House, Fontley Way, London SW15, leaving an estate after probate of £892.

The research for this blog post was completed by volunteer Susan Martin.