The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

Norah Archer

ARCHER, Norah (née Desmond)

Hanora (Norah) Desmond was born 7 May 1881 in the townland of Bengour East, close to the village of Newcestown, north west of Bandon in County Cork. Her parents, Jeremiah Desmond, an Agricultural Labourer, and Hanora Culnan (probably Cullinan) were married in 1871 and Norah was the fifth of nine children, two of whom died young. Norah was not at home in the 1901 census; only her four younger siblings and her parents were recorded. She was found in the 1911 census in Paddington, London working as a ‘Parlourmaid’ in the household of a German Merchant from Coblenz. Newcestown was clearly written as her place of birth. Her father Jeremiah died in 1913 in Newcestown aged seventy-seven.

Norah married James Archer in July 1914 in Devonport, Devon. The available records do not show why Norah was living in the area, nor is there any information on James Archer. A daughter, Marjorie, was born in July 1915 in Edmonton, Middlesex. Norah was travelling with Marjorie in October 1918, presumably visiting her family in Newcestown, and was returning to England on RMS Leinster when the ship was torpedoed. Neither survived and Norah’s body was never recovered. The Evening Herald of 16 October reported that “Margaret Archer, aged 7, late of London, was identified by her uncle.” Despite the discrepancies of name and age, this was Marjorie.  It was Norah’s brother Denis who had travelled to Dublin and it was he who organised the child’s burial in Glasnevin cemetery, in an unnamed grave.



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