Lance Corporal 3202, 6th Battalion Dragoons.
Died 1st December 1917, age 28.
Remembered on the Cambrai Memorial, France.
Former student of teaching.
Joseph was born in 1888 at Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent. His father, also called Joseph, died when he was young and left his wife Maria, a teacher, to bring him and his brother Bertram up. He attended the Potteries Pupil Teaching Centre where he undertook an apprenticeship as a pupil-teacher. The pupil-teacher system was introduced in 1846 with students undertaking a five year apprenticeship, typically from age thirteen. Student teachers received instruction in teaching and were able to earn a wage working at primary schools.
On completion of his apprenticeship Joseph entered Hulme Hall in 1907 to study for a teaching certificate at the University Day Training College where he studied academic subjects as well as courses on the profession of teaching, such as the history and philosophy of education, and educational administration. He failed his exams in 1910, but passed in 1912 having spent the two years in between working on the staff at the Fielden Demonstration School in Manchester, a school set up by the University to enable students to put into practice in a controlled environment what they were learning. By this stage Joseph had left Hulme Hall and was staying with his uncle in Moss Side. Awarded his teaching certificate in October 1912 he left to teach at the newly opened Waterloo and Seaforth Grammar School. At some point between 1913 and August 1914 he left teaching and started a career in journalism.
Having served in the University Officer Training Corps Jospeh was quick to enlist to fight after war was declared, signing up as a private with the Dragoon Guards in Liverpool on 11th September 1914. Towards the end of the month, he was posted to the 2nd Reserve Regiment of Cavalry who had been formed in August 1914 and were at that time based in Aldershot. After almost 8 months of training he was posted to the 6th Battalion Dragoons who has been fighting on the western front since December 1914. He served with distinction, being appointed to the rank of lance corporal just under a year later. On the evening of 16th August 1916, he was supervising a digging party ordered at night to undertake the construction of trenches near Neuville St Vaast, four miles to the north of Arras. The enemy were alerted and fired upon Joseph and his colleagues, wounding him in the right thigh. He was evacuated back to England six days later for treatment. It took eight months to fully recover and on the 30th April 1917 he returned to his unit, now based in Theivres near Albert on the Somme.
Seven months later his unit was involved in the British offensive known as the Battle of Cambrai. Despite a successful start the enemy began a counter-attack at the end of November 1917. Joseph was involved in a failed cavalry charge on the 1st December which resulted in 110 men and 187 horses wounded or killed. Joseph was reported as missing in action and it was later ascertained that he has died of wounds later that day as a prisoner of the enemy.