The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

James Duller


James Duller was born in 1877 in Chatteris, near Peterborough, in Cambridgeshire to William Duller and Mary Ann Kightly. James was the fifth of their sixteen children, fifteen of whom were alive in 1911. William was a Farm Labourer and the censuses show that they moved several times within the area. According to the 1891 census James was doing ‘Field Work’ along with four of his siblings, including two sisters while his father and an older brother were described as ‘Farm Labourers’.

In 1898 James Duller married Mary Clarke and they had seven children, four sons and three daughters. In 1901 they were living in Stanground, close to Peterborough, where James was a General Labourer. By 1911 they had moved a little further from Peterborough to the town of Whittlesey, where James was once more a Farm Labourer.

The limited military records for James Duller show that he enlisted in 1914 in Bury St Edmunds in the Suffolk Regiment (Number 203426), and later transferred to the Ayrshire Regiment which was attached to the Corps of Hussars. The 2nd Brigade was converted to a Cyclist Unit in 1916 and moved to Ireland in May 1918, stationed at Omagh, Co. Tyrone. James Duller may have been with this Brigade and travelling on leave to England when he found himself on RMS Leinster on the 10th of October 1918.

James Duller did not survive the sinking but his body was recovered on the Scottish coast on the 7th of November. The death certificate recounts that his “body was found on the seashore about 12 noon at Geldwoth, Leswalt”, close to Stranraer. The body of another victim from the Leinster, Philip O’Brien, was found nearby two days later. James Duller’s body was returned to his family in Whittesley where he was buried in the local graveyard, and a headstone erected in his memory. His name is also inscribed on the Whittlesey War Memorial. His widow Mary remarried in 1922.



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