The memorial plaque to Joseph William Onslow (1862- 1885) reads, "Joseph William Onslow, Lighterman, Who Was Drowned At Wapping On May 5 1885, In Trying To Save A Boys Life."
As with all the heroes remembered here, Jospeh, gave his life in endeavouring to save the life of a fellow human being.
And, sadly, as with several of those commemorated, his sacrifice proved not necessary, as the boy he gave up his life to save was, in fact, saved by another onlooker to the scene.
Compared with some of those commemorated on the Watts Memorial in Postman's Park, the death of Joseph William Onslow, didn't receive a great deal of press coverage.
That's not to say that it wasn't reported in newspapers countrywide - as it most certainly was - it just means that his sacrifice, although a brave a noble one, didn't garner that much newspaper comment.
The following account of his brave and fatal act appeared in The Sunderland Daily Echo in an article that was published on the 9th of May 1885:-
"Yesterday morning, the Deputy Coroner for East Middlesex held an inquest, at Wapping, on the body of Joseph William Onslow, aged twenty-two, a lighteiman.
William Dare said that on Tuesday he was with the deceased on board a barge, when their attention was attracted to the cries of a boy who had fallen into the water from off Wapping-stairs.
The deceased, without a moment's hesitation, plunged into the water, and swam towards the stairs and in the direction of the boy, who was some 50 or 60 yards distant.
When about three yards off the lad the deceased appeared to be seized with cramp, and before further assistance could be obtained he sank from the view of a number of spectators, who were standing on the banks of the river.
The boy was rescued by a man in a barge, by means of a boat-hook, but the deceased was drowned.
It was stated that previously the deceased had jumped into the river in the same daring manner, and saved no fewer than three lives.
The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death."
The Seven Oaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser, published a few more details of the fate of Joseph Onslow, and of the Coroner's comments at the inquest into his death, in its edition of Friday 15th May 1885:-
"...The deceased never rose to the surface after he sank.
Search was at once made and, after a short time, the body was got out, when it was found life was extinct.
Efforts were made to restore animation, but without success.
The coroner, in summing up, alluded to the noble act of the deceased, in which the jury concurred..."