Married with four children—two boys and two girls—at the time of enlistment, Joseph departed for England with No. 2 Construction aboard SS Southland on March 25, 1917, landing in England two weeks later. He proceeded to France with a large detachment of No. 2 Construction personnel on May 17, 1917 and proceed to the Canadian Forestry Corps’ Jura District, where he worked in its forestry and lumber operations for the duration of the war.
Joseph returned to England with No. 2 Construction on December 14, 1918 and departed for Canada aboard SS Aquitaine one month later. Following his discharge from military service at Halifax on February 13, 1919, he and his family relocated to Springhill, where Joseph worked in the local coal mines.