Joseph Ireland

Date of birth: 1884
Place of birth: Weymouth
Regiment / Division: Royal Navy
Vessel: HMS Bulwark
Rank / Service No: Petty Officer Stoker, 294847
Died: 26th November 1914, aged 29 years
Commemorated: Portsmouth Naval Memorial


Joseph was the second of 4 siblings born to Harry and Elizabeth Ireland (nee Ireland !), who married in Weymouth in 1883.


Harry was born in Weymouth in 1859. Somewhat mysteriously, he was described as a “widower” in both the 1901 and 1911 Census.

He died in Eastleigh in 1932.


The “widower” tag is a mystery because Elizabeth, who was born in Mosterton (Dorset) in 1858, passed away in Southampton in 1934 !

Strangely, Elizabeth Ireland from Mosterton is described as “married” in the 1881 Census, which would certainly explain the birth year of the couple’s oldest child.


Some clarification may well be required with this relationship.



Millicent   b. 1881 Weymouth   d. 5 January 1959 Middlesex   Married George Edwin Paine in Paddington in 1905.


Olive Bessie   b. 3 March 1887 Weymouth   d. 1944 Surrey   Married Robert George Verey in Weymouth in 1908.

Alfred (Freddy)   b. 1890 Weymouth d. 1965 Weymouth


Joseph married Margaret Rose Laverton in Weymouth in 1905. the couple latterly lived at 227 Shirley Road in Southampton and had 2 children….


Leonard Henry Joseph   b. 1906 Weymouth   d. 1988 New Forest   Married Mary J. Flood in Southampton in 1933.

Gwendoline Olive   b. 1907 Weymouth   d. 1957 Leicester   Married Cyril J. Room in Southampton in 1934.


Rose had been born in Paddington on 15 January 1886 and she passed away in Southampton in 1951.



Bulwark was a London class battleship, which entered service with the RN in 1902. she sailed with the Mediterranean fleet until 1907 before coming home to home waters.


In 1912, the vessel was refitted and immediately became part of the 5th Battle Squadron. At the outbreak of war, the Squadron was attached to the Channel Fleet, patrolling the English Channel.


On 26 November, when anchored off Sheerness, a “large internal explosion” destroyed the vessel, killing 736 men.


8 of the fourteen survivors died later in hospital, between November 1914 and January 1918.


After an exhaustive enquiry it was decided that the explosion was caused by over-heating cordite charges that had been placed adjacent to a boiler room bulkhead.



Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 3rd October 2016


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