Joseph Francis first appears in a census in 1891. He was just a baby. He lived in Munforth Street Flint with his family . His father and head of the household was Thomas a 35 year old bricklayer who had been born in Ireland. His wife, Phoebe M was 36 and a dressmaker who hailed from Liverpool. Their children were John B H 13, Louisa M 11, Margaret was 8, James 6 and Minnie A 4 (These 5 were scholars) Joseph F was 3 months old. All the children had been born in Flint.
Ten years later in the 1901 census the family were still in the same street in Flint. Thomas was 45 and a bricksetter. Mary Phoebe was 46 and still a dressmaker working on her’own account’. The children listed were Margaret 17 a general domestic servant, James was 16 and a blacksmith, Alice was 14 and Joseph F was 10.
The 1911 census finds the family living at 51 Salisbury Street Shotton. 55 year old Thomas was still laying bricks but was working at the iron works (John Summers). Mary Phoebe was 55 and the children listed were James 25 a ‘Bardragger’ in the iron works and Joseph Francis who was 20 and a student of teaching. There were two male boarders who worked in the iron works. The form gives us some sad information. Mary Phoebe had given birth in total to 12 children and 6 of them had died.
The 1911 census gives us some information about a young woman of 20, named Dorothy Kate Lobe. She was a schoolmistress at St Winifreds in Bangor, N Wales and had been born in Walthamstow in Essex. She became a significant person in the life of Joseph Francis McIntosh as we shall see later in his story.
The Hawarden County School Register tells us a little about Joseph It gives his date of birth as the 9th January 1891. The address was Lathom Villas, Shotton. His father’s occupation was ‘Bricklayer’. Joseph entered the school on the 4th October 1905. He had a Connah’s Quay Council Scholarship. He left in September 1908. In 1909 he was recorded as an elementary teacher.
There is an index card for Joseph in the Flintshire Roll of Honour at The County Record Office in Hawarden. It confirms the regimental details above and adds that he was a 1st Lieutenant. It says he ‘died through the sinking of the Leinster on the 9th October 1918. (It was the 10th). It was signed by ‘Mrs McIntosh’ on 5th February 1920.
UK Soldiers who died in The Great War 1914 -19 accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk cotains a cursory entry for Joseph. It gives his death date, rank and regiment and says that he ‘drowned’.
Joseph’s medal card also on Ancestry, tells us that he first joined the army as a private but was promoted at some point to Lieutenant . The card tells us that the first theatre of war that he served in was France. He was awarded the two medals listed above. The word ‘drowned’ is written on the card. Mrs McIntosh 51 Salisbury Street, Shotton, Chester is written on the reverse of the card.
As we see from the above newspaper cutting below, Joseph did his teacher training in Bangor. At the same time Dorothy Kate Lobe was a 20 year old schoolmistress at St Winifred’s School in Bangor (1911 census) . Joseph Francis McIntosh and Dorothy K Lobe married in the spring of 1918 in Guildford Surrey. (Qtr June, Vol 2a page 169). Ironically, the 1901 census tells us that Dorothy’s father Paul G Lobe was born in Germany but the census form states that he was a ‘British Natural Subject’.
The England and Wales National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and administrations 1858 -1996) has the following entry in 1918 – McIntosh Joseph Francis of 51 Salisbury Street Shotton Cheshire Lieutenant died 10 October 1918 at sea Probate London 18 December to Dorothy Kate McIntosh widow. Effects £55.11s
Below is an e mail we received from Mark McIntosh a great nephew of Joseph Francis McIntosh. He tells us what he knows about what happened to his Uncle
‘My Uncle Joe’.
I am the Great Nephew to Joseph Francis McIntosh (on the war Memorial His name is spelt wrong as Francis Macintosh! I found that out from my family research).
My Great Uncle Joe joined the Royal Welsh Fusiliers in 1915 and was posted to Flanders. 18 months later he suffered Shell Shock and Trench Fever and as far as I know when he recovered he was sent to Oswestry to be trained and promoted to Lieutenant. According to the War records he was awarded 2 medals one for bravery.
He was posted to Dublin and on the 10th October 1918 I presume he was on his way home, because he was on a Holyhead ferry from Dublin. The ship just reached a lighthouse on the Irish coast when it was hit by a torpedo from a U boat. The Captain turned the ship around to go back into Kings Town as it was known then, when it was hit by a second torpedo and exploded. My Great Uncle was killed aboard the ship and is buried in a special Graveyard in Dublin.
The sinking of the ship was one of the greatest disasters because 500 lives was lost and was hushed up for a very long time. I have the book on the sinking and my Great Uncle is mentioned in it.
The Sinking of The Leinster
This event is now well document but at the time it was hushed up for a number of reasons. The date was 10th October 1918, the signing of the armistice was weeks away. Peace talks were seriously threatened by the attack on the Leinster. The Leinster was a passenger carrying mail boat between Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) and Holyhead. The Germans should not have attacked a civilian ship. On board, however were about 500 military personnel. The situation in Ireland was getting more and more difficult. It suited neither Britain nor Ireland to have it known that Irish men were in the British forces. For these reasons the event was understated. The numbers reported dead were minimised. The first figure suggested that 176 had died. The last official figure was 501 but subsequent research has identified 529 victims. It was in fact the biggest loss of life ever in the Irish sea.
To learn more about the sinking of the Leinster follow http://www.rmsleinster.com/
To learn more about the U boat (UB-123) that fired the three torpedoes at the Leinster follow https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SM_UB-123
To learn more about another Flintshire soldier who was drowned (with his two children) on the Leinster follow the link to Charles Harold Blackburne’s page on the Mold Memorial. George Wright Mole of Bagillt was also drowned in the sinking of the Leinster
See also ‘Death in the Irish Sea’ by Roy Stokes
Also ‘Torpedoed…The RMS Leinster Disaster’ by Philip Lecane ISBN 1-904381-29-4 Periscope Publishing Penzance
Many thanks to a number of contributors on the ‘Army Forum’ on 1914-1918.invasionzone.com who helped considerably with this research
NB Joseph’s brother James was also in the War, but survived, his Flintshire WW1 Index Card (Shotton L 168) gave the address as 51, Salisbury Street, Shotton. he was a Private 303105 in the Royal Scots Regiment. He served from 1914 –to 1919 including in France. The card was signed on the 16th January 1920 by J. McIntosh. He was also on the Absent Voter’s List of 1919 – No. 2762