Joseph Needham was born in 1882 in Mattersey. His father, William, had previously been married with three children before marrying Mary Browne, 16 years his junior, in 1872. In 1885, Joseph had a sister who was also born in Mattersey. In 1910, Joseph married, registered in Doncaster, to Mary Steel, who was a native of Mattersey. In 1911 they were living at 3 Castle Street, Conisborough, Yorks where Joseph was working as a carter for a railway company. The couple also had a daughter born to them who they named Florrie.
L/Cpl Joseph Needham Retford Times 11 Feb 1916 Mrs Jos. Needham of 10 Claremont Terrace, Conisborough, wife of Lance Corpl Needham, 6th Batt York and Lancaster Regt has received the sad intelligence that her husband died through natural causes whilst in hospital at Alexandria on or about the 29th November. This sad news deeply affected the people of Mattersey as deceased was born and reared in their midst and was living in the village at the time of his enlistment at the age of 18 years. When war broke out he had been living in, Conisborough about six years. He was well known there as his employment in the Great Central Railway goods department bought him in contact with people of all classes. As a reservist, he responded cheerfully to the summons and went out to France with the Expeditionary Force. Unfortunately, he was buried under the debris caused by the bursting of a shell and received injuries which necessitated his going to a hospital. He was afterwards invalided home last August and took great interest in the local recruiting meetings obtaining many recruits by his rugged eloquence. He also spent a few days in his native village. After being declared fit for further service he was drafted out to the Dardanelles and previous to his departure to this new sphere of military operations he told his wife of a presentiment that she would never see him again. Unhappily his fears have proved to realised. For his gallant services, he was promoted to L/Cpl. Needham was a hero indeed. He had served in South Africa, gaining the King Edward Medal (1901-2) with two bars and the Queen Victoria Medal with four bars (Laing’s Nek, Transvaal, Orange Free State and Cape Colony). L/Cpl Needham would have obtained his discharge had he survived till the 17th March. On the 16th November, he wrote cheerfully to his wife, stating that he was in the best of health. He was 34 years of age and leaves a young widow and two children. Not they alone will mourn his loss, as his widowed mother, now over 70 years of age and still resident at Mattersey, as well as his only sister, Mrs H Walker of Drakeholes, will feel most keenly the great trouble that has been thus thrust upon them.