Mr Joseph Wakefield Thomas was born at Tutshill in Tiddenham, Gloucestershire, England on 8 September 1888, being baptised on 7 October the same year in Tiddenham Parrish Church.
He was the son of Edgar Joseph Thomas (b. 1852), a foundry labourer, and Elizabeth Price (b. 1851). Both his parents were natives of Tiddenham and had married in 1888.
Joseph first appears on the 1891 census when he and his parents were living at 13 Pen Mael (?) Terrace in Tidenham. His father died in 1894 aged 41 and his mother was remarried in 1897 to a widower named James Selwyn (b. 1846 in Littledean, Gloucestershire), a carpenter who had several children from his previous relationship. Joseph, his mother, stepfather and stepsiblings appear on the 1901 census living at 28 Carmarthen Street, Gloucester.
Joseph was married in Southampton in late 1909 to Rosina Alma Barrow (b. 21 January 1890 in Southampton, daughter of Charles Barrow and Emma Groves) and they had a son Arthur Edgar Wakefield in 1910.
The family appears on the 1911 census living at 18 Newman Street, Shirley, Southampton, the home of Thomas' widowed father-in-law Charles Barrow, and Joseph was described as a seaman.
When he signed on to the Titanic on 6 April 1912 Thomas gave his address as 20 Newman Street, Southampton. His previous ship was the Olympic and as a fireman, he could expect to earn monthly wages of £6. Also serving aboard, as a ship's butcher, was his brother-in-law Charles Henry John Barrow, the brother of his wife Rosina.
Joseph Thomas was lost in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified. The following death notice appeared in the Hampshire Independent (April 1912):
THOMAS--On April 15th, on s.s. Titanic, Joseph, the dearly beloved husband of Rosina .... [illegible]... Southampton, aged 25. At God's command he fell. "Thy will be done."
His widow Rosina had been pregnant at the time of the disaster and before the close of the year, she gave birth to a son, William Charles Thomas Joseph.
Rosina remarried in 1930 to labourer William Moss (b. 1872) with whom she had at least one more child. In later years she helped care of her aged father Charles at their home in Alton, Hampshire. Rosina died there in 1961.
Joseph's son Arthur later married Lillian Annie Agnes Smart in 1939 and had a daughter, Ann, with the family making their home in Forest Hall, Northumberland. He served with the Hampshire Regiment during WWII and died in Béja, Tunisia on 3 December 1942.
What became of his posthumously-born son William is uncertain.