People on board
William Demaine was born in Bolton, Lancashire in 1882 to William Demaine and Elizabeth Patterson. He was the ninth of their eleven children, eight of whom were alive in 1911. William Snr was a Stonemason and while his older sons did not follow him in this trade the 1901 census shows William Jnr and his brother Fred as Stonemason’s Apprentices. At that stage the family was living in Windermere Street having been in various addresses in Little Bolton. William died in 1909 aged sixty and was buried in the Astley Bridge Cemetery.
In January 1906 William married Elizabeth Tonge in Manchester and they had three children, Elizabeth 1907, Ruth 1912 and William in 1914. When William enlisted in June 1915 his address was 45 Durham Street in Bolton. He was with the 4/5th Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, promoted Corporal in 1916 and Acting Sergeant in 1918.
The 4/5th landed in Le Havre in February 1917 and the following month William Demaine was injured and in hospital in France. While in hospital he received the news that his wife had died at home in Bolton and he received a discharge to go home for her funeral and arrange for his three children. The Mayor of Bolton wrote to his commanding officer in support of his request for an extension of his leave.
Presumably also as a result of his injury he was transferred to the 3/4th Reserve Battalion which was at Oswestry before moving to Dublin in April 1918. Returning home on leave he travelled on RMS Leinster on the 10th of October.
He did not survive the sinking but his body was recovered and he was buried in Grangegorman Military Cemetery in Dublin. His personal belongings, including a Rosary and photographs, were sent to his mother at Windermere Street. His youngest brother Edward, who had enlisted in the Royal Lancaster Regiment, was killed in April 1917 and was buried in Bray-sur-Somme. Both William and Edward are remembered on the family grave in Astley Bridge as well as on Bolton’s Online War Memorial. Their elder brother Robert was Mayor of Bolton in 1945/46.