Joseph Peter Glaszion was born in the Sydney suburb of Hunters Hill in 1892 to Honore and Winifred Glaszion. He was working as a painter when the First World War broke out, and enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) on 15 December 1914, aged 22. Glaszion embarked from Melbourne as a stretcher-bearer with the 13th Battalion aboard HMAT Ulysses on 22 December 1914. He was also a member of the 13th Battalion Band. Glaszion married Alice Rushton in England on 20 November 1915. In December 1918 he returned to Australia as a result of the special leave granted to those who had been abroad with the AIF since 1914. Following his discharge from the AIF he worked as a signwriter.