The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

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Letitia Harriett Hill

HILL, Letitia Harriett née Crawford

Letitia Harriett Crawford, known to her family as Harry, was born on the 28th of April 1882 in Banagher County Offaly, then King’s County. She was the eldest of the six children of William Henry Crawford and Eliza McGrath. William, a Labourer from County Cavan, and Eliza from County Monaghan married in the district of Castleblayney in 1881. The family moved to the Murphystown area of south Dublin, where two more daughters were born, Sarah in 1884 and Eliza in 1887 and a son, William, in 1891. The latter died at the age of two by which time they had moved to the Stillorgan district where William was a Gardener. Here Ernest was born in 1895, followed by Sydney in 1897.

Letitia Crawford cannot be found in any of the censuses, but in 1915 she married in Stillorgan Parish Church. The address on her marriage certificate, Stillorgan Cottage, Brewery Road was presumably the family home, and her father’s occupation was Gardener. Her husband, Valentine Hill, 2nd Lieutenant Royal Field Artillery, also gave Brewery Road as his address, where his father John was a Gamekeeper. In October 1918 the newspaper reports said that “she was returning to England”, which suggests that she had settled there after her marriage.

Letitia’s youngest brother, Sydney George, had enlisted as soon as war had been declared and by October 1918 was a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers and had seen considerable action in France and Flanders.
Letitia Harriett HillHe was on leave in Ireland in October and was returning to England, together with Letitia, on RMS Leinster on the 10th. He had been promoted Lieutenant on the 9th but may not have known about this. The two were seen off by their parents at Kingstown “in the best of health and spirits”, according to the Irish Independent on the 14th. Neither Sydney nor Letitia survived the sinking and Letitia’s body was never recovered. Several weeks later however the body of Sydney Crawford was recovered from the sea in the Kirkcudbright area of Scotland. He was laid to rest in Kirkbean Parish Churchyard on the 22nd of November and a small white marble cross was erected over the grave.

In 1920 a memorial was erected in St Brigid’s Church in Stillorgan in memory of Letitia and Sydney.

Both are also remembered on the family grave in Deansgrange cemetery where she is named as Harry.



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