Joseph Dominic Wynne was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, in 1878, the son of Zachariah Joseph and Sarah Wynne. In 1897, he married Mary Ellen Jeanetta Glencross and in 1915 the family home was at 20, Oakes Street, in Liverpool city centre. Joseph worked as a slater’s labourer
He signed on as a sculleryman in the Stewards' Department on board the Lusitania at Liverpool on 17th April 1915, as a substitute for a seaman who had failed to join, on what would prove to be the liner’s last voyage from the Mersey. He had never been to sea before, but as his son George who had previously sailed on the Lusitania also engaged for her final voyage, it is likely that he was recommended by him. Although the family home was at 20 Oakes Street, Joseph Wynne gave his address as 27 Warwick Street, Toxteth, Liverpool when he engaged. As a sculleryman, his rate of pay was £3-5s-0d, (£3.25p.).
The last minute decision to join the ship cost Joseph Wynne his life as he did not survive the sinking. In an interview broadcast on local radio station
Radio Merseyside, in 1975, his son described the last time he saw him: -
My father said to me that he was going down - to hang on, on the deck, as she was going down very fast - to hang on as he was going down for a lifebelt, which was in ‘the glory hole’ - the sleeping quarters. I never saw no more of him - he turned round three times and looked at me and I never saw no more of him. ..... I was 16, in the kitchen and my father was in the kitchen. We were both working there.
Joseph Wynne’s body was never recovered and identified afterwards, and as a consequence, he is commemorated on the Mercantile Marine Memorial at Tower Hill, London. He was aged 37 years.
In keeping with all crew members, lost or saved, Cunard paid wages until 8th May, the day after the disaster, and eventually the balance owing to Joseph Wynne was paid to his widow Mary, in August 1915. In addition, The Liverpool and London War Risks Insurance Association Limited granted her a yearly pension that amounted to £70-15s-6d. (£70.77½p.) per year, payable at the rate of £5-16s-0d. (£5.80p.) per month.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1901 Census of England and Wales, 1911 Census of England and Wales, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Cunard Records, Joe Wynne, PRO BT 100/345, Radio Merseyside, UniLiv. PR 13/24, PRO BT 334.