In 1912 Joseph and Martha Ann Parrish emigrated from Wales to Australia and settled in the Newcastle district. Six years later they would lose two of their sons within seven days of each other, both victims of the hostilities on the Western Front.
On 16 October 1915 Joseph Parrish jnr joined the Coo-ee Recruitment March at Wellington. He completed his medical at Wellington, and was attested by Captain Nicholas at Orange on the 24 October 1915. At the time of his enlistment Joseph was living at Creek Reserve, Boolaroo, where he was employed at the colliery.
After completing the Coo-ee March Joseph proceeded to Liverpool Camp as a reinforcement for the 13th Battalion. On 8th March 1916 Private Parrish and his fellow Coo-ees departed Sydney on the HMAT A15 Star of England, arriving in Egypt on 11 April.
On the 16 April 1916 Joseph was transferred to the 4th Pioneer Battalion at Tel-el-Kebir. Six weeks later, on 4 June, he embarked HT Scotian at Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force in Marseilles, France.
Private Parrish was transferred to the 4th Machine Gun Company on 12 May 1918. On 10 June 1918 the company was engaged near Villers-Bretonneux when Joseph received a gunshot wound to the neck. He was admitted to 4th Australian Field Ambulance and later transferred to the 53rd General Hospital at Abbeville.
Joseph failed to recover from his wounds; he died on 27 June 1918, aged 21 years; the cause of death being listed as gunshot wound to neck and bronchopneumonia. He was buried in the Terlincthun British Cemetery at Wimille.
Joseph Parrish is commemorated on panel number 176 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.