(L to R) 1939-45 Star; 1939-45 Defence Medal; 1939-45 War Medal; Efficiency Medal
Joseph was born on the 27th June 1902 in Stalybridge, then part of Cheshire. His father was called Patrick and his mother was Margaret. He had an older brother called James and at least 2 younger brothers, John and Walter. Two other children had died by 1911, but we don't know their names. We believe the family were Roman Catholics.
In 1901 the family lived at 5 Back Grosvenor Street in Stalybridge. We don't know if they were still there when Joseph was born. Patrick worked as a labourer at an ironworks and Margaret was a cotton reeler in a mill. By 1911 they had moved to 11 Inkerman Street in Droylsden, Lancashire. Margaret was still a reeler, and Patrick had joined her in the cotton industry. He was now a card grinder.
After Joseph left school he began to work as a labourer. He must have wanted more from life though because on the 23rd July 1919 he joined the Manchester Regiment in nearby Ashton-under-Lyne. He lied and told the Army he was 18 years and 24 days old. His mother still lived at 11 Inkerman Street.
Joseph was given the service number 77861, but after a short time this was changed to 3513246. We know very little about his service. By January 1926 Joseph was serving in D Company of the 2nd Battalion of the Manchester Regiment at Rangoon in Burma. On the 11th he was promoted to Lance Corporal. We don't know how long he had been overseas.
By February 1927 Joseph had returned to the UK. On the 8th he was discharged from the Army and joined the Army Reserve. This suggests he had enlisted for the usual term of 7 years Regular service followed by 5 years in the Reserve. As a Reservist Joseph could find a home and a job, but he could be called back into service if an emergency arose. We don't know anything about where Joseph lived or what he did.
We believe Joseph stayed in the Reserve until the 22nd July 1939. On the 1st August he joined the 2/9th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. This was a unit of the Territorial Army (TA) based in Ashton. They trained during evenings and weekends, so Joseph will still have kept his civilian job.
The Second World War broke out in early September 1939, and the 2/9th Battalion was called into service. During 1940 and 1941 it was stationed in Tenby and Pontypool in Wales, and then moved to the south of England as a defence against an invasion. It was converted to the 88th Anti Tank Regiment Royal Artillery in December 1941. This unit served in the UK throughout the war.
We don't know anything about Joseph's service, although we don't believe he served overseas at any point. He left the Army in October 1945, shortly after the end of the war. He will have been awarded the Efficiency Medal at around this time. It was normally earned after 12 years in the TA, but Joseph was allowed to count his wartime service twice.
Between July and September 1945 Joseph married Nancy Hough in Ashton. We don't know whether they had any children. Joseph died between July and September 1971 in Middleton, Lancashire. He was 69 years old. Nancy died in February 2002 aged 87. Joseph's medals were donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment in October 1987.