Joseph Rafferty was born in Whitestown, Carlingford, County Louth, Ireland, in late 1891, the son of Patrick and Rose Rafferty, and one of nine children. The family home was at Lower Willville, Carlingford, County Louth, and his father was a shoemaker.
On leaving school, he made his way to Liverpool seeking work and became a dock labourer. He then served as a fireman in the Engineering Department on board the final voyage of the
Lusitania and he was killed when she was sunk. He was aged 23 years.
His body was not found and identified afterwards and his name is embossed on the Mercantile Marine Memorial at Tower Hill, London.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1901 Census of Ireland, 1911 Census of Ireland, 1911 Census of England and Wales, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Cunard Records, PRO BT 334.