People on board
John Williams was born on the 14th of July 1889 in Gwalchmai, Anglesey to Owen David Williams and Elizabeth Jones. John was the fifth of their five sons. In the 1891 census Owen Williams was a ‘Labourer Railway Ports’, presumably at nearby Holyhead. Elizabeth died in 1895 and Owen remarried the following year to Ellen Jones in Newborough, birthplace of both. Owen, Ellen and John, aged eleven were living in Minffordd, Newborough in the 1901 census, the four older boys having left home. Owen was then employed as a Railway Porter.
John moved to the coal mines of Aberfan in South Wales, marrying Mary Hughes in early 1900. They were boarders in a house in Merthyr Tydfil in the 1901 census with their four month old daughter Lizzie, where John was a ‘Collier Hewer’. Apparently, Mary persuaded John to leave the dangers of coal mining and they moved to Holyhead where John was employed as a Fireman by the City of Dublin Steam Packet Co. They lived at 9 Summer Hill, Holyhead.
Three of John’s brothers enlisted for the War, and the eldest, David Owen, was killed in action in 1916 with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. William, with the Grenadier Guards, was also wounded and another was in the Navy at the Battle of Jutland.
John was working on RMS Leinster on the 10th of October 1918 and he did not survive the sinking. His family were told that he had saved a woman passenger and had gone below to save another when he was lost.
His body was not recovered but he is remembered on the Holyhead and Gwalchmai War Memorials and in Tower Hill in London. He was awarded the Mercantile Marine medal and the British War medal.