People on board
DENE, Elsie Beatrice Yvonne née Koe
Elsie Beatrice Yvonne Koe was born in 1891 in Aldershot, Hampshire to Frederick William Brooke Koe and Beatrice Florence Ashby. Frederick was an army captain, born in England, whose father had settled near Portroe in County Tipperary. Elsie was the second of their two children, the eldest, Gwladys, was born in Dublin in 1888. Frederick served in West Africa in 1892/1893 and in China following the Boxer Rebellion in 1900. The family cannot be found in the 1901 census so were presumably living abroad. He was Acting Quarter-Master General, Western Command, then Director of Supplies and Transport during the war, becoming a Major General and then Colonel and C.B. and C.M.G.
In the 1911 census Elsie and her parents and grandfather were in Curraghbawn House in Newtown, Tipperary close to Lough Derg. This was the house of Frederick’s widowed sister Ethel and her three young children. They would shortly be joined by Gwladys, her husband and child and her Ashby grandparents for the occasion of Elsie’s marriage on the 19th of April to Arthur Pollard Dene, a Captain in the Duke of Cornwallis Light Infantry. The wedding took place at Castletown Church, a small picturesque church beside Lough Derg.
Elsie and Arthur lived in England where John was born in Bodmin, Cornwall in 1912 and Patricia in Birkenhead in 1913. Her sister Gwladys’ husband, Marwood Yeatman, was killed in action in France in September 1914 and her aunt Ethel and grandfather Heber Koe both died in 1917 in Tipperary.
Elsie was back in Ireland to visit her remaining family in Curraghbawn House in 1918 and was returning on RMS Leinster on the 10th of October 1918. She did not survive the sinking but her body was recovered. Her remains were “conveyed by motor” to Nenagh on the Sunday and she was interred in Castletown graveyard in the family plot on the following afternoon.
It is a small secluded graveyard with old stone walls and sheltering trees. The inscription on her grave says that she died “while bravely attempting to succour the children on board”.