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Mr. Joseph Dominic Wynne, Sculleryman

Joseph Wynne, 37, of Liverpool, England, United Kingdom, was a Sculleryman aboard Lusitania, where he worked in the galley (kitchen) with his son George. Joseph was on C deck when the ship was struck and his son found him. They separated when Joseph went to find a lifejacket for George. Joseph was lost in the disaster. George was rescued. When George reached Queenstown, he did not want his family to worry and telegraphed them saying that both he and his father were safe. George later realized that Joseph was not among the rescued.

A job on the Lusitania


Joseph Wynne was married and had six children, one of which was George. The family lived on Oakes Street in Liverpool, England, near the Lime Street Station. In early 1915, Joseph had fallen on hard times and was unemployed. His son George, who worked aboard Lusitania, was able to find Joseph a job aboard the ship’s kitchens through George’s friend, Charlie Westbury. Joseph’s wife would have preferred that Joseph take a job on land but did not object as both father and son were working together.

Joseph also had bronchitis, and the warm air of the kitchens was better for his respiratory system than the cold air he would have had to breathe had he been working outside in Liverpool.

The Lusitania‘s last crossing was to be the close of George’s sixth round trip aboard the ship and Joseph’s first. Joseph’s new job made him homesick, and George was around to cheer him up by talking about football and how soon they would be back in Liverpool. Joseph had not been impressed by the Lusitania and talked of finding a job on land when they reached home.

Torpedoed


On the day of the disaster, 7 May, Joseph Wynne was on C deck when the torpedo struck Lusitania. His son George ran from the vegetable locker to find him. George had seen a young crew member run by, shouting, “Get out! We’re lost!”

George and Joseph went onto the port side boat deck to see what to do when his father realized George could not swim. Joseph Wynne told his son to stay put while he went back to the crew’s quarters to get a lifebelt and they separated. George never saw his father again.

George was rescued and continued looking for his father in Queenstown, Ireland, but could not find him. Not wanting his family worry, he sent a telegram to his mother in Liverpool: BOTH SAVED. HOME LATER. He could not bring himself to tell his mother, who was raising six children, that Joseph had gone down with the ship.

When George returned to Liverpool, he sought support from a priest he knew before he could tell his mother the truth.

George kept a photograph of Joseph and another of himself with a black armband, taken the day after he returned from Queenstown, by his bedside in his later years.

Contributors
Michael Poirier

References
Hickey, Des and Gus Smith.  Seven Days to Disaster, pages 52-3, 195, 206.  G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1981.

Poirier, Michael.  “The Tale of Boat Fourteen.”

Preston, Diana.  Lusitania:  An Epic Tragedy, pages 124-5, 210, 239, 289, 432.  Berkley Books, 2002.

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