Joseph was born in Wolverhampton in 1876, the son of William Edward and Myra Elizabeth Boot. In 1901, he was living with his grandmother in Hanley, Staffordshire, and was working as a furnaceman for an ironworks. He was still in Hanley by 1911, with his widowed mother and brothers Samuel and Harry. He was now a bricklayer.
On 6 November 1915, Joseph enlisted in the North Staffordshire Regiment (number 19293). He was posted to France in July 1916, but was reported missing, and later presumed dead, on 18 November 1916. He is remembered at the Thieval Memorial.