The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

Albert Gillard


Albert Gillard was born in 1876 in Compton, Dorset to Frederick Gillard and Caroline Snook, the second of their six children. Frederick Gillard was a Gardener/Domestic Servant and the family moved from Compton a short distance in the 1880s to Cattistock near Dorchester. In the 1891 census fifteen year old Albert was a ‘Milker’ while his twelve year old brother Edward was a Carpenter’s Apprentice.

In January 1900 Albert Gillard married Sarah Ann Loveless in Yeovil, where he was a Groom/Coachman. In the 1901 census he gave his occupation as Groom/Chauffeur. They had three children Frederick, Arthur and Wilfred. From 1906 Albert Gillard was Chauffeur to Major Robert Hall Brutton, a Yeovil Malster and Brewer who would die in India in 1916 with the Somerset Light Infantry. On a foggy day in November 1914 Gillard was driving members of Brutton’s family near Yeovil when they were involved in an accident where a man died, but a later inquest declared a verdict of Accidental Death.

The Gillard family were then living in 18 Wellington Street in Yeovil. In December 1915 at the age of thirty-nine Albert Gillard enlisted in the Royal Army Service Corps. Unfortunately his service records are missing so it is not known where he served, but in October 1918 he was with a Mechanical Transport Company in Ireland. Presumably returning home on leave he travelled on the 10th on RMS Leinster. He survived the sinking and was reported in the Irish Independent on the 12th as being “one of a party of 18 that clung to a raft, denied that there had been any panic”. His local Yeovil newspaper the Western Chronicle reported on the 18th that he was safe and was in the Castle Hospital.

In a medical report a few monaths later it was observed that Albert Gillard showed marked tremors of his hand and left arm and he complained of “Insomnia and wakes up with cold sweats and terrifying dreams”. He attributed his state to having being on the “torpedoed Leinster Mail Boat”. He was discharged on grounds of disability in February 1919.

It is not known if he resumed his chauffeur occupation, but in the 1939 Register he was a ‘Yard Foreman’. His wife Sarah Ann née Loveless died in 1932 and he married Louisa Hawker in 1936. In 1939 they were living in Queen Street in Yeovil where he died in 1958 aged eighty-two.



  Home        The Sinking        Commemoration        Poetry & Song        People on board        Books        Contact        Privacy        Our Facebook page