The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

Joseph Barraclough


Joseph Barraclough was born in 1890 in Shipley, Yorkshire to George Barraclough and Eliza Bucknell. He was the second youngest of their twelve children, eight of whom were alive in 1911, five sons and three daughters. George was a ‘Boatman on Barge’ or a ‘Waterman on Canal’, Shipley being on the Leeds – Liverpool Canal. In the 1901 census Joseph, then aged eleven though recorded as thirteen, was working as a ‘Worsted Doffer’. This job, often done by children, involved removing the bobbins or spindles from a spinning frame and replacing them with empty ones.

George died in April 1911 and in that census Eliza had only one son, the youngest, Willie, at home with her. In that census Joseph gave his occupation as ‘Waterman’ and this time he was in Bradford as a Visitor of the family of Alatha Burrell who he would shortly marry. A son, George, was born in April 1912. Joseph and his older brother Frederick were working with Fife, Kemp & Co. Coal and Lime Merchants in Shipley. By 1915 Eliza and her married sons were living in different houses in Tong Park, Baildon. A piece in the Shipley Times and Express in November 1915 reported that three of Eliza’s sons were serving in the War, Frederick with the Army Service Corps in the Dardanelles, Herbert in France with the Northumberland Fusiliers and Joseph in training at Whitley Bay with the 3rd West Yorkshires (Number 3791).

Disaster struck the family on the 7th of July 1916 when Frederick died of sunstroke in Salonica, and on the same day, Herbert was killed at the Battle of Albert. In another piece on the 6th of July 1917 the Shipley Times and Express reported that Joseph Barraclough had been severely wounded and was in hospital in Sheffield. It was later reported that he had an eye blown out and a compound fracture to the skull. The paper also reported that the youngest son Willie had enlisted and was in training in Durham.

Having recovered from his injuries Joseph was transferred to the Royal Defence Corps, and in October 1918 he was with the 462nd Protection Company in Ireland. Eighteen members of that unit were returning on leave to England on RMS Leinster on the 10th of October and eight of them did not survive the sinking, including Joseph Barraclough. His body was recovered and he was buried in Grangegorman Military Cemetery in Dublin.

A nephew of Joseph’s was killed in France in April 1918 and then in December 1918 his youngest brother Willie, who was with the West Yorkshire Regiment, died of pneumonia in West Hartlepool hospital. The names of the four Barraclough brothers are listed on the Tong Park War Memorial and on the Baildon Roll of Honour. Joseph’s wife Alatha died in 1927 and his mother lived on until 1933, dying at the age of seventy-four.



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