The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

Margaret Mary Pio Dillon

DILLON, Margaret Mary Pio née Cantillon

Margaret Mary Pio Cantillon was born on the 27th of May 1877, the sixth of the eleven children of Denis Cantillon and Mary Ellen Mahony. The family lived in Rockfarm, also known as Na Carriga, at Little Island, Cork. Denis styled himself a ‘Gentleman Farmer’ and there was a valuable limestone quarry on the farm. In 1881 there was a raid on the Magazine housing the blasting material, and a significant amount was stolen. In 1893 Denis Cantillon was appointed a Justice of the Peace for Little Island. From the censuses it is clear that not only were the Cantillons living in the only 1st Class house in their immediate area, but Denis also was the landlord for six adjoining 3rd Class houses.

In the 1901 census three unmarried daughters in their twenties, Eleanor, Anna and Margaret, were living at home with their parents and youngest brother Joseph, then aged sixteen. Their father died in February 1911 aged seventy-seven. In 1911 their eldest brother, Denny Edward, was married and a qualified doctor working in Cardiff, while their younger brother Rev Francis John was head of the Capuchin Friary in Kilkenny. In 1912 Anna married a widower, James Drummy, in Cork.

For a short time in 1916 Margaret Cantillon worked with the Red Cross in Cork as a Special Service Member, and then as a VAD nurse until June 1917. In April 1918, at the age of forty-one, she married Dr Theodore Francis Dillon, a Corkman working as a doctor in Cardiff in the same area as her brother Denny. He too was a widower, with three children, his Cork born wife having died in 1917. The marriage took place in Cork.

It is not certain why Margaret Dillon was travelling on RMS Leinster on the 10th of October 1918, but was probably returning to Cardiff after visiting her family in Cork. She was accompanied by her sister Anna, perhaps wanting to visit her relations in Cardiff. Neither sister survived the sinking, nor were their bodies recovered. In February 1919 their sister Eleanor applied for administration of their estates, which was finally granted the following November. Theodore Dillon married again in 1919 to another Cork woman.



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