Private J.W. Samways  Service number 27207 royal defence corps

Regiment Royal Defence Corps

Date of birth 2nd November 1869

Date of death 16th July 1918

Age at death 48 years


His Story

Joseph was born on 2nd November 1869, the son of Joseph William, a mariner, and Mary Samways (nee Long) at 4 Reynold’s Terrace, Old Church Road, Mile End Old Town.   The following year his father is at sea but Joseph, his mother and two much older sisters of 15 and 17 are at 4 Old Church Road.

In 1881 he is living with his parents at 18 White Horse Street, Ratcliff where this time his father is home but still described as a mariner.

Joseph is 21 in the 1891 census and has already chosen a different way of life to his father as he is a railway porter living at his previous address with his parents.   His father is shown as a general labourer aged 65, obviously too old now to go to sea and they are supplementing their wages by taking in a lodger.

On 12th June 1892 at St. Thomas’ church, Stepney, Joseph now a 22 year old signalman living at 33 Stepney Causeway married Alice Elizabeth Alchin.

Between 1896 and 1903 the family are at 12 Robeson Street where the family has increased by 3 young children between the ages of 3 and 8.   Between 1905 and 1909 a Joseph Samways is living at 4 Barnes Street, Limehouse but by 1911 they are settled at 99 Ravenscroft Road, Canning Town. Now they have 7 children (none have died) aged between 18 and 7 months old –  Arthur born in Canning Town.

On 28th December 1914 Joseph William Samways aged 45 and the father of 9 children, enlisted as a member of the Royal Defence Corps.   He was discharged on 4th May 1917 due to illness and was issued with a Silver War Badge on 11th May (No. 172756).   He received a war gratuity of £6.5s. but sadly died on 16th July 1918 aged 48.