Few men as they returned from the war were able to share their experiences with their families and friends except with those who had been there too and would understand some of what they went through. Is this what happened to Joseph McSorley who seems to have chosen to live here in Hobart far away from his family.
According to his attestation papers he was born in Adelaide, but enlisted in Western Australia where he had been working as a blacksmith and where his brother was living also. We know very little about Lance Corporal McSorley apart from his service record.
Joseph McSorley enlisted in May 1916. He gave his brother Hughie as his next of kin. At the time of enlistment he stated that he was 39 years of age and was unmarried. He embarked for overseas on the Ceramic arriving in England on 21 November 1916.
In April 1917 he was taken on strength as a sapper with the 7th Field Company Engineers. Four months later he was promoted to the rank of lance corporal. He was wounded in action in October 1917 and again the following year when he was badly gassed.
During operations at Zonnebeke, whilst with a party detailed to construct a strong point in the wake of the attack. When the senior N.C.O. and a sapper were very severely wounded. Lance Corporal McSorley took over organising and erecting the wire round the strong point. During the whole time this party was under very heavy shell fire, and intermittent machine gun fire. Despite being knocked down and rendered deaf by a shell, McSorley and three other sappers stuck to the job and finished the wiring. On completion, McSorley volunteered to stay with the N.C.O. to see whether anything further could be done for him. Throughout the recent operations Lance Corporal McSorley has shown himself most reliable and cool, and has performed invaluable service.
Instead of taking his discharge in Western Australia, he chose to be discharged here in Hobart where he remained until his death on 8 June 1923. It is quite possible that his war wounds contributed to his early death at the age of 46.