Joseph Francis was born in 1889 in Newmarket in Flintshire and his parents were James and Suzannah Adams.
We first find Joseph on the 1891 census where he is living with his family at Byron Street, Newmarket, Flintshire. His father James was a 35 year old Police Constable who had been born in Ireland. This was a Roman Catholic family. The mother was Susannah aged 34, originally from Liverpool. Their children were Mary,14, Esther 12, John H 11, James 8, Margaret 6, Francis 5, George 4, Joseph 2 and Agnes 1.
In the 1901 census circumstances had changed. The family lived at The Police Station in Saltney, Flintshire. James Adams the father was now a 46 year old widower. He had been promoted to Police Sergeant. Living at home with him were Francis 15, a Butcher’s Apprentice, George 14, Joseph 12, Agnes 11 and there was a nephew Charles Ellard who was 4.
Ten years on in 1911 the family was living at 51 Church Street Connah’s Quay. James was then 55 and was a retired police pensioner. He had remarried and his wife Mary, 45 had been born in Rhyl. ( According to the census she had been married to James for 13 years, but on the 1901 census he had stated he was a widower). Mary had given birth to 5 children all of whom had survived. They were listed on the census as Charles 13, Richard 12, Alfred 6, Ena 5 and Sydney 1 month.
Joseph Francis was not there because in 1907, at the age of 19 he had decided to emigrate to Australia. He sailed from London on 15th November 1907 on the ship ‘Oruba’ His destination was Sydney and his occupation was listed as a ‘labourer’. He was a single man.
Like many young men in the Empire, he signed up to fight for the mother country. He enlisted at Newcastle in New South Wales on 20th November 1915. He was 27 years old and described himself as a seaman. He named his father James Adams in Connah’s Quay as his next of kin. His service records are intact and available to view on the Australian National Archives website.