Joseph was the son of John and Deborah Rodgers.
Joseph first enlisted aged 16 on 1st November 1915 at Barnard Castle. He spent spent 7 days in Catterick Hospital from 1st to 7th December 1916 suffering from Scabies and received baths and sulpher treatment. He remained in the UK until he was sent to France, arriving in Boulogne on 3rd April 1918. On 5th April 1918, he was posted to Etaples. His service records suggest he remained in France until 21 November 1919 when he was sent for dispersal. He was demobilised on 25 November. Shortly before this he had been promoted to Lance Corporal on 9th January and had assumed the rank of Acting Corporal on 23rd July.
Joseph appears to have re-enlisted for a year on 5th July 1920 at the age of 21 and served on the Home Front as a Lance Corporal in the Territorial Force, 5th (or possibly 6th) Reserve Battalion, DLI . He did annual training in Scarborough form 25th July to 8th August 1920. At his enlistment medical, it was noted that he had a burns scar on his left brow and a scar from a hernia operation. These scars may have been incurred during the war as they were not mentioned when he first enlisted but we have found nothing to suggest that the burns scar was war related.