The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

Charles John Hitchcock

HITCHCOCK, Charles John

Charles John Hitchcock was born in late 1888 to Charles Hitchcock and Annie Lane, the second of their ten children. The family lived in Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire where Charles was a Labourer, variously a Bricklayer, Farm Labourer and Grave Digger. In the 1911 census Charles John gave his occupation as ‘Printer’. He married Ellen Mary Tungate Alecock, also a Printer in the 1911 Census, in Hemel Hempstead and they had two daughters, Ellen and Elsie, in 1913 and 1915.

Charles enlisted with the 103rd Training Reserve Battalion in July 1917 when his family were living in Ebberns Road, Apsley in Hemel Hempstead. He transferred to 2/1st Scottish Horse (Number 28698) in September 1917 which moved to Fife in Scotland and, in April 1918, to Limerick. In June 1918 a request was entered that he be transferred to the Printing Works in the Garrison at the Curragh Camp in Kildare. In July he was transferred again to the Royal Engineers and appears to have remained at the Curragh in ‘J’ Depot Company.

He was presumably returning to his family on leave when he travelled on RMS Leinster on the 10th of October. He did not survive the sinking but his body was recovered on the seashore at Ross Bay near Kircudbright in the south west of Scotland on the 26th of November. A telegram from the Head Constable in Kirkcudbright to headquarters in Chatham reporting the finding of the body is included in his military records.

Charles Hitchcock was one of five casualties from the Leinster whose bodies were recovered from the sea in this area. All five were buried in the local St Cuthbert’s Churchyard and a headstone was raised by public subscription.

In May 1919 his widow Ellen received a pension of 25s 5d per week for herself and the two children. In 1921 she married George Lee and had two more children. The family were still living in Ebberns Road in the 1939 Register.



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