Joseph Thomas Hordern was born in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England, in 1871, the son of Joseph Thomas and Annie Hordern. He was married to Mary Elizabeth Hordern (née Ormond) in Liverpool in 1910, and they lived at 12, Macbeth Street, Kirkdale, Liverpool, Lancashire.
He engaged as a greaser in the Engineering Department on board the Lusitania, at Liverpool, on the 12th April 1915, at a monthly rate of pay of £7-0s-0d. and reported for duty five days later, before the liner left Liverpool landing stage for the last ever time to cross the Atlantic Ocean to New York.
Having carried out his duties successfully on the outward journey across the Atlantic Ocean to New York, Joseph Hordern was present on the early afternoon of 1st May 1915, when the great liner left the Cunard berth at Pier 54 in New York for what would be her last voyage ever out of the port.
Six days later, on the afternoon of 7th May, he was killed when the vessel was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine
U-20, off the coast of southern Ireland and only about fourteen hours steaming time away from the safety of her home port.
His body was not recovered and identified afterwards and as a consequence, he is commemorated on the Memorial to the Missing at Tower Hill, London. He was aged 44 years.
In keeping with all crew members, Cunard paid Joseph Hordern up until 8th May, 24 hours after the sinking and eventually, the balance of wages owing to him was forwarded to his widow Mary. The Liverpool and London War Risks Insurance Association Limited also granted a yearly pension to Mary Hordern to compensate her for the loss of her husband which amounted to £23-11s-8d. (£23.58½p.) which was payable at the rate of £1-19s-4d. (£1.96½p.) per month.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1871 Census of England and Wales, 1891 Census of England and Wales, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Cunard Records, UniLiv. PR 13/24, PRO BT 334.