The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

Lilian Mary Barry

BARRY, Lilian Mary

Lilian was born in London in 1884 to Thomas Edward Barry and Mary Catherine Egan. Thomas had gone out to Australia in 1861 working first on a cattle station, later moving into the business of shipping produce in Sydney, especially sugar. He married Mary Catherine Egan in Sydney in 1868, altogether having ten children, only four of whom survived. He returned to Ireland in 1881, and then set up as a shipping agent in London, dealing mainly with Sydney, and also moved into the gem business. From 1886 he felt the need to get away from London fogs, and from then until his death in 1913 he made regular trips to Australia for his health, eighteen in total, as well as many trips to the Continent, enjoying the long sea voyages. At the beginning of the century the family moved to Cork, but “the Irish climate cannot possess many attractions.”

Lilian Mary BarryIn the 1901 UK census Lilian was at school in the Convent of Notre Dame in Norwich, aged 17, while her parents and sister Mary Cecelia were in Cork. In 1911 Lilian was alone in a house in Mahon, Cork with a servant, while her mother and sister were in a lodging house in Youghal, possibly on holiday. In 1912 Mary Cecelia married Dr Arthur Ambrose of London, going to live there and possibly dying in 1929. Thomas Barry died in Cork in August 1913; there was a full obituary in the Sydney Freeman’s Journal. According to this, there was also another sister living who was a nun.

On the 1st of October Lilian Barry enrolled as a Wren in Cork, giving her occupation as ‘Shorthand Typist’. It is not known if she knew Maureen Waters and Josephine Carr before this, but all three travelled on the RMS Leinster on the 10th October, presumably to their first posting. The events of that disaster, and Lilian Barry’s part in it, were described by Maureen Waters in a letter to her parents, published by the Cork Examiner.

Lilian Barry survived the sinking, as yet, nothing further has been found about her life or when she might have died.



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