Joseph was the son of Joseph & Eliza Allen who lived at 7 Church Lane, Stevenage, and was one of ten brothers and sisters. Before enlisting in the Army he worked at the Central Stores in the High Street as a Shop Assistant. At the time of his death, he had two brothers serving in the forces. Jesse, who was in the 3rd Bedfordshire Regiment, and George who was serving in the Royal Navy. His brother, Thomas, was killed on the 4th October 1916 whilst serving with the Royal Berkshire Regiment in France.