British War Medal
We don't know anything about Joseph's early life or family.
When the First World War broke out in August 1914 Joseph felt a strong enough connection to Manchester to want to join the 7th City Battalion. This was being formed by the workers of Manchester to make sure they could serve together. He enlisted on the 24th November 1914 and was given the service number 20499. This unit became the 22nd Battalion of the Manchester Regiment and James was assigned to VIII Platoon in B Company. His Platoon Commander was David Murray and his Company Commander was Donald Murray. These two were brothers, and both their medals are in the Museum of the Manchester Regiment collection.
The 22nd Battalion formed at Heaton Park in Manchester, then moved to Morecambe on the Lancashire coast in December 1914. They then moved to Belton Park near Grantham in Lincolnshire during April 1915. In September they moved to Larkhill in Wiltshire. They were based here until the 11th November when they sailed to France.
We don't know much about Joseph's time in France, but we believe he stayed with the 22nd Battalion throughout the war. They served around Mametz near Fricourt during early 1916. They took part in the Somme Offensive which began on the 1st July, and attacked Mametz on the first day. They then served on the Somme until the Offensive ended in November, and fought in the Battle of Arras during April 1917.
In the autumn of 1917 the 22nd Battalion moved to Belgium and joined the Passchendaele Offensive that was fought around Ypres. They served in their third country from November 1917, when they were sent to Italy. The Italians had suffered a serious defeat in their fight against Austria Hungary, so the British and French sent several units to help them. The 22nd Battalion stayed in Italy until the end of the war and played a major role in the final defeat of the Austrians.
We have no record of Joseph ever leaving the 22nd Battalion, so it is likely he was in Italy when the war ended on the 11th November 1918. By this time he had been promoted to Corporal.
The rest of Joseph's life remains a mystery. As well as his British War Medal, he was also awarded the 1914-15 Star and the Allied Victory Medal for his Army service.