The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

Kathleen Stuart Baines

BAINES, Kathleen Stuart

Kathleen Stuart Baines was born in Yorkshire in 1869 to Edward Manwaring Baines and Maria Stuart Greer, the eldest of five children of this marriage. The Baines were well known newspaper proprietors who had owned the Leeds Mercury since 1801, and Edward’s uncle had also been an M.P. The family were social reformers and staunchly religious. Maria’s father, S.M. Greer, had been an M.P. for Londonderry and a leading member of the old Liberal Party in Ulster. The couple were married in the Presbyterian Church in Rutland (Parnell) Square in Dublin by her uncle in 1868. There were four further children before Maria died in 1876 aged thirty.

Edward Baines remarried in Edinburgh in 1879 to Margaret McCrone Douie, daughter of a Presbyterian minister. There were five girls born to this marriage. Edward was a member of the Leeds Rifles, later becoming head of the commercial department of Edward Baines & Sons, and he was quietlyprominent in public life in Leeds. In the mid-1880s the family moved to Harrogate. He died in 1897 aged fifty-three. Kathleen’s sister Winifred married Robert Haldane Carson in 1898, a solicitor, and went to live in Omagh, Co Tyrone. Robert Carson was later the Executor of Kathleen’s will.

In the 1881 census Kathleen Baines was in Edinburgh with her stepmother and stepsister and in 1891, aged twenty two, she was in Harrogate with three of her siblings. She has not been found in the 1901 census but in 1911 she was living in Tunbridge Wells in Kent with the seventy five year old Amelia Wright, presumably as a companion. When Mrs Wright, originally from Yorkshire, died in 1914 she left £2,000 to Kathleen “upon trust for life, desiring her at her death to leave said sum to the London Missionary Society”. Kathleen moved back to Leeds in 1914 and was a Sunday School teacher in the Congregationalist Church in Queen Street.

Kathleen was returning from holidays in Ireland on 10 October 1918 when the RMS Leinster was torpedoed. She was thrown into the water but managed to cling to a piece of wreckage and was rescued after more than an hour. She returned to her friends, the Wakefields of Rathgar Road, where she began recovering, but then “pneumonia intervened” and she died on the 18 October. She was buried in Mount Jerome cemetery and a memorial service took place in Leeds the following Sunday.


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