People on board
SINGLETON, William James
William James Singleton was baptised on the 22nd of February 1888 in Holyhead, the eldest of three children, though a fourth died in infancy. His parents, James Henry Singleton and Margaret Jane Griffiths, were both from Liverpool and had married there in 1884 but had moved to Holyhead before William’s birth. James was a Coppersmith and the family lived in Park Street before moving to Newry Street.
In the 1901 census William was listed as a ‘Chorister’ and as a member of the St Cybi Church choir, he had won a choir scholarship to New College, Oxford in 1899. He took up a position as teacher in the local Park School, becoming Assistant Master, and he was also a Sunday School Teacher and a Scout Master. His father died in 1911 aged fifty-three and William lived with his grandmother, mother and two sisters.
He joined the 16th Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers in October 1914, transferring to the 2nd Battalion where he was promoted Sergeant and then Company Sergeant Major in January 1915. He was commissioned Temporary 2nd Lieutenant in November 1915. He went to France with the 17th Battalion on the 26th of June 1916, just two days after he had married Marion Evelyn Talbot in St Cybi’s church. Born in Staffordshire, she had been living with her parents and sister in Yorkshire in 1911 and she gave no occupation on the marriage certificate, so it is not known why she was living in Holyhead.
William was wounded at Mametz Wood in July 1916 and on recovery he was attached to the 3rd Battalion as an Instructor and based in Limerick. He was promoted to Temporary Lieutenant in July 1917. He was presumably returning to Holyhead on leave when he travelled on RMS Leinster on the 10th of October 1918, one of more than twenty members of the Welsh Fusiliers on board. Most of them lost their lives, including William Singleton. His body was recovered and he was buried with full military honours in the Military Cemetery in Grangegorman, Dublin.
He was awarded the Victory Medal and the British War Medal and his name is recorded on the Holyhead War memorial, as well as on a plaque in the Park School. A daughter, Patricia, was born on the 27th of December, her birth being registered in Holyhead. In 1922 Marion Singleton married Percy Waldron and lived in London. In the 1939 Register Marion and Patricia were living in Yorkshire.