The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

Anna Carlisle

CARLISLE, Anna née Ferguson

Anna Ferguson was born on the 15th of June 1891 in Dundalk to Alexander Owen Ferguson and Annie Klingner. Alexander Ferguson was a Plumber / Sanitary Engineer, born near Glasgow but whose family had moved to Dublin in the late 1860s. Annie Klingner’s father Carl Ernest August, a Tinsmith, had moved to Ireland from Berlin and married in Dublin in 1856. He had married Annie McPherson from Scotland, who was working as a Cook in Dublin at the time. All gave their religion as Presbyterian.

Anna Ferguson, known as Nano, was the second of the six children of Alexander and Annie and the family returned to Dublin from Dundalk before the next child, Carl, was born in 1895. In 1901 the family was living in Killester in north Dublin, and in the census Annie’s parents, Carl E August and Anna Klingner, were living with them. Annie gave her name as Annie McPherson Ferguson, seemingly avoiding the Klingner name. By 1911 the then eighty-one year old widower, simply August, was still with the family which had moved to 49 Brighton Road in Rathgar, on Dublin’s southside.

Anna Ferguson, then aged nineteen, gave no occupation in the 1911 census, though her older sister Ellen was a Typist. However from August 1914 she worked in the Christ Church Sewing Guild, and her V.A.D. record shows that she was the “Maker of 162 articles and the Cutter Out for the Guild”. She was involved for four years and was awarded the Voluntary Worker badge.

It was probably through her involvement in the Christ Church Rathgar Presbyterian community that she met John Craig Carlisle, who had been working in the Northern Bank in Dublin and was from a Monaghan Presbyterian family. Having enlisted, by 1918 he was in France with the Machine Gun Corps. They were married in Christ Church on Saturday the 5th of October 1918, her parents being the witnesses.

The newly married couple travelled on RMS Leinster on the 10th of October. In a report in the Irish Independent on the 14th, headed “Honeymooner’s Ordeal, Gallant Rescue of the Bride”, their terrifying experience was recounted in detail. Having both found a place in the very overcrowded third lifeboat to be launched, they saw the first two being swamped and smashed. Their own boat was almost submerged because of the number of people on board. Eventually a navy vessel arrived to their rescue, but in the rush to get on board, the lifeboat overturned and many were thrown into the water, including John and Anna Carlisle. However her large fur coat helped to keep her afloat and a “plucky member of the rescue vessel’s crew” jumped on to the upturned lifeboat and managed to haul her in. John Carlisle was also rescued but was injured by floating wreckage and was subsequently taken to the Castle Hospital, but Anna only suffered some abrasions.

They presumably stayed in Dublin to recover, though John Carlisle may have had to return to his unit. Following demobilisation he resigned from the Northern Bank and they moved to England where he worked as an Accountant with the Air Ministry. Two children were born, Desmond in 1920 and Anna in 1921, when they were living in the Edmonton district of Middlesex. In the 1939 Register John Carlisle gave his occupation as Bank Manager. They died in Hove, Brighton, John in 1966 and Anna in 1969.



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