The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

John Harold Deacon Dawson

DAWSON, John Harold Deacon

John Harold Deacon Dawson was born in Woodford, Essex on the 27th of August 1893 to John William Dawson and Alice Mary Henderson. Five days after the birth Alice Dawson died and the following year John Dawson remarried to Mary Ellen Nicholls, but there were no further children. The family lived in Fladgate Road in Leytonstone, where in the 1911 census both father and son gave their occupation as ‘Mercantile Clerk’.

In August 1914 John Harold enlisted as Rifleman in the 16th Battalion of the London Regiment, declaring that he had previously served in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and was “discharged through illness”. From November 1914 he was part of the Expeditionary Force in France and was wounded in the thigh in January 1915 at Houplines, close to the French / Belgian border. He was admitted to No 7 Stationary Hospital in Boulogne and then transferred home to England on the 12th of February.

He was sent to a hospital in Oxford where he met his future wife, Florence Emmeline Graham, who was nursing there. In May 1916 he was discharged from the army as “medically unfit for Military Service” and awarded a pension of 12s 6d per week. He took employment with the Goodyear Tyre and Rubber Company, working as Manager in their Dublin office.

In March 1918 he married Florence Graham in her home parish in Drigg, Cumberland, giving his address as Sydney Parade Avenue, Merrion, Dublin. Later that year they moved into the city and lived in 14 Upper Fitzwilliam Street.

John Dawson was, according to family accounts, travelling to Spain via England on the 10th of October 1918 to take up a new position with the Goodyear firm. He did not survive the sinking, nor was his body recovered. In his will he left stocks and shares to his father and the remainder of his estate to his wife. His name was recorded on the family grave in Little Ilford and on the War Memorial in St Michael’s Church, Chester Square, London.

Florence Dawson emigrated to Australia in 1920 and lived at 11 Alma Road, St Kilda, Melbourne, at which address she received her late husband’s war medals in 1922. She returned to England in the late 1920s and died in her native Drigg in 1977 aged eighty-nine. John and Florence are both named on a family grave in Drigg.



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