The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

William David Dillingham

DILLINGHAM, William David

William David Dillingham was born in Ampthill, Bedfordshire in 1894 to Walter George Dillingham and Martha Ann Street. Walter was a Coachbuilder in business with his brother Edward Charles. Walter’s two eldest sons, Charles and George, also worked in the business. William David was the fifth of the seven children of Walter and Martha, five boys and two girls, one of whom died after four days in 1899. The family lived in Arthur Street and close by in Ossory Place.

In 1911 William, aged sixteen, gave his occupation as Auctioneer’s Clerk. In 1916 he married Eunice Constance Burton and they had a daughter Eunice Fabian that year. In March 1917 the Bedfordshire Times and Independent reported that Mr Henry Swaffield, Auctioneer and Surveyor and Secretary of several local committees, had looked for an exemption from conscription for William David Dillingham. He said that his staff “had been very much depleted”. He was told that “we must have these young men”, but he was given a three months delay.

William Dillingham enlisted with the Scottish Horse and was posted to the 2/1st Regiment, a Second Line Regiment, which moved to Ireland in April 1918. Returning on leave he travelled on RMS Leinster on the 10th of October. On the 18th the Bedfordshire Times and Independent reported that his wife had received a telegram from Dublin reporting his drowning. His body was recovered and he was buried in Grangegorman Military Cemetery in Dublin.

All five of the Dillingham brothers had enlisted in the army or the navy and the other four all returned safely. William’s name was recorded on the Ampthill Memorial which was erected in 1921 to remember the sixty-five men from the town who had died in the war. William’s widow Eunice remarried in 1920.



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