People on board
GOULD, Mary E (May)
Mary E Gould, named as Eliza on her birth certificate, was born 26 April 1897 in Limerick City to John Gould and Mary Kate Whelan. They had married in August 1896 in Tralee, when he was twenty-four and she twenty, as recorded on the marriage certificate. They both gave an address of Ballymullen Barracks in the town where John was a ‘Sergeant in the Army’, the Royal Munster Fusiliers.
When Eliza was born in April 1897 they were living in Nicholas Street in Limerick and John gave his occupation as ‘Labourer’. In the censuses Eliza was recorded as Mary E and Mary, and as May in the reports of the sinking of the RMS Leinster in 1918. The second child, Ellen, was born in April 1899 and she would later be known as Essie. At this stage the family lived at Change Lane. William was born in March 1901 but lived only two days. Alice was born in June 1903, followed by Catherine in 1905 and the family were then at No 9 King’s Island, where they would stay until at least 1913. Patrick Joseph was born in 1906, Michael John in 1910, Angela in 1913 and Olive in 1917. Catherine and Patrick also died while very young, of convulsions and laryngitis respectively.
In the 1901 census May’s mother was living with May and Essie in one room, her husband John was serving with the Army in South Africa. He left the Army on his return from the Boer War. In 1911 they had two rooms in the King’s Island house for the family of six, and John gave his occupation as ‘Commercial Porter’. The newspaper reports of the sinking of the ship in October 1918 said that Catherine was taking the six children, May, Essie, Alice, Michael, Angela and Olive, aged from twenty one down to twelve months, to England where their father was working. The Limerick Chronicle went further, saying that John Gould “had been at munition work in England for some considerable time past” and that the family had been living in Creagh Lane, Mary Street, Limerick.
May’s younger sister, Essie, was the only member of the family to survive the sinking and she returned to Limerick by train the following day, where she was met by a number of her friends. The body of Mary Kate was recovered but not those of the other five children, including May. John Gould returned to Limerick and was present when Mary Kate was interred in Mount St Lawrence cemetery in Limerick in an unmarked grave. It is not known what happened to John and Essie in the following years.