Joseph Patrick Huston was born in Bootle, Lancashire, in 1890, the son of Joseph and Elizabeth Huston.
He engaged at Liverpool as an able seaman in the Deck Department on board the Lusitania on the 14th April 1915 at a monthly rate of pay of £5-10s-0d, (£5.50p.). At his time of engagement he was advanced £1-10s-0d, (£1.50p) of this wage and joined the vessel before she left Liverpool landing stage for the final time, on the morning of 17th April. For some reason, he engaged under the name of Joseph Robb.
His body was amongst the first to be recovered from the sea afterwards, and it was delivered to Queenstown where it was given the reference number 51, in one of the temporary mortuaries there. Once a positive identification was made, however, he was buried on 10th May 1915, in the Old Church Cemetery, Queenstown, in Mass Grave C, Row 5, Upper Tier. This was the date upon which most of the victims of the sinking were buried, following a long funeral procession which began outside Cunard’s office at Lynch Quay, on the waterfront at Queenstown.
Despite the fact that Able Seaman Huston has an identifiable burial site, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission was not aware of the fact and after the Great War, commemorated him on the Mercantile Marine Memorial to the Missing at Tower Hill, London under his actual name.
However, once the author had established beyond doubt that he was buried in The Old Church Cemetery, the Commission agreed to erect a permanent memorial to him where he is buried and this was done in November 1998.
It takes the form of a monument of Irish limestone, sited at the head of Mass Grave B, the centre one of the three. The names of crew members buried in the three mass graves are incised on two black granite panels on the memorial, with a legend in between them, which reads: -
1914 - 1918
IN HONOURED MEMORY
OF THOSE NAMED WHO,
SERVING ON THE
DIED WHEN THE SHIP WAS
SUNK BY ENEMY ACTION
ON 7 MAY 1915
AND ARE BURIED NEARBY
The name of Able Seaman J.P. Huston is incised on the left hand panel.
The Commission has also stated that should it ever be necessary to renew the panel bearing his name on the Tower Hill Memorial, his name would be omitted from its replacement.
There was no property on his body to be returned to his family.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1891 Census of England and Wales, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Cunard Records, PRO BT 334.