Joseph Casey was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, England in 1864, the son of William Patrick and Mary Casey, both of whom were born in Ireland. His father was a joiner and on completing his education James became an apprentice plumber before turning to a career in the Mercantile marine as a ship’s fireman.
In 1887 Joseph married Annie Moore and the couple went on to have nine children. In 1915 the family lived at 43 Webster Street, Litherland, Liverpool, Lancashire, England.
Joseph Casey engaged for service as a fireman in the Engineering Department, on board the
Lusitania at Liverpool on 12 April 1915 and joined the ship on the morning of 17 April, for her last ever voyage down the River Mersey. As a fireman he was paid the month rate of £6-10s-0d (£6.50) and £1-0s-0d of this was advanced to him upon engagement. His previous ship had been the Turcoman.
Having completed her last ever east to west crossing of the Atlantic, the
Lusitania left New York on the early afternoon of 1 May 1915 for her return voyage to Liverpool. She never made it however, for on the afternoon of 7 May she was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine
U-20 off the Old Head of Kinsale, only about 12 to 14 hours away from the safety of her home port.
Fireman Casey survived this action and having been picked up from the sea was landed at Queenstown and eventually made his way back to Liverpool. There at Cunard‘s offices at Water Street he was officially discharged from the vessel and paid the balance or wages owing to him, which amounted to £4-14s-0d (£4.70).
Despite his ordeal he returned to the sea after the sinking and continued to serve in the Mercantile Marine for the rest of his working life.
He died, aged 85, in 1949.
1871 Census of England and Wales, 1881 Census of England and Wales, 1901 Census of England and Wales, 1911 Census of England and Wales, Cunard Records, Lawrence Evans, Mary Metcalf, PRO BT 100/345.