Joseph James Richards 1 was born in Southampton, Hampshire, England in the third quarter of 1882. He was the son of a Welsh father, Henry William Richards (b. 1840 in Newport, Monmouthshire), a bread maker, and an English mother, Eliza Hart (b. 1850 in Southampton) who had married in 1876. His mother had a child from a previous relationship, Julia, but was never married.
Joseph had eight siblings: Henry John (b. 1876), Theresa Eliza (b. 1878), Eliza Laura Jane (b. 1880), Ellen (b. 1884), Anna Alice (b. 1886), William George (b. 1889), Charles (b. 1891) and step-sister Julia (b. 1867)
His family had been living at 14 Spa Road, All Saints, Southampton the year before his birth. On the 1891 census, when Joseph first appears, he and his family are resident at 2 Morses (?) Court, St Mary Southampton. They would move to 54 Bond Street, Southampton by the time of the 1901 census but Joseph is absent, perhaps already at sea. He would again be absent from the 1911 census when his family were living at 34 Belvedere Terrace, Southampton.
Joseph was married in the summer of 1911 to Florence Alice 2 Jones (born circa 1884 in Hampshire). The couple had had their son Joseph Henry Louis Richards Jones a few months previously. It is possible a further child was born towards the start of 1912.
When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 6 April, 1912 Joseph gave his address as 25 Summers Street, (Southampton). His last ship had been the Olympic. As a fireman he received monthly wages of £6.
Joseph Richards was lost in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified. The following death notice appeared in the Hampshire Independent (unknown date):
RICHARDS--April 15th, 1912, at sea, through the foundering of the s.s. Titanic, Joseph, the dearly beloved husband of Florence Richards, of 25, Summers Street, Northam. In the midst of life we are in death.
He is remembered on the St Augustine's Church Memorial, Southampton.
His father died in 1922 and his mother in 1924, both in Southampton. His widow Florence was remarried in 1913 to William Daniels but what became of her is uncertain, although she may have died in Winchester in the late 1960s.