The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

Frederick Laurence Hopkins

HOPKINS, Frederick Laurence

Frederick Laurence Hopkins was born in 1894 in Lilydale, just outside Melbourne, to Alston John Hopkins and Mary Johanna Dowell. Until 1914 the Electoral Register showed Alston Hopkins as a Draper in Lilydale, but by 1917 the family had moved to Camberwell, closer to the centre of the city, and Alston’s occupation was ‘Assistant Examiner Defence Department’. Frederick had one brother, William Reginald, born about 1900 and who died in 1926.

Frederick enlisted in the Australian Army in October 1915 at the age of twenty-one, giving his trade as ‘Mechanic’. Attached to the Army Transport Motor Service he embarked for overseas, via Alexandria, in June 1916. He disembarked in Marseilles but was in hospital in Rouen in August. From September he was ‘In the Field’ and from March 1917 he was a ‘Motor Transport Driver’. He was in trouble in April 1917 for “driving a lorry at excessive speed on the Albert – Bapaume road, contrary to 5th Army Traffic Regulations”, and forfeited three days’ pay. After a period of leave in the UK in September he was in France again until July 1918, when he got a period of leave in Paris. He was on leave again in the UK in October 1918 and was returning on 10th October on RMS Leinster when the ship was torpedoed.

Frederick Hopkins survived the sinking of the ship and a letter, confirming that he had survived, was sent to his father on 18th October. He was granted an extension of his leave “to recover from sinking”. He remained in the Australian Army after demobilisation in April 1919 and was granted leave with pay to attend an automobile engineering course in London from June to October. He finally returned to Australia in November 1919.

He was listed on the Electoral Register of 1921 living with his parents and brother, then an electrician, at 14 Broadway, Camberwell and giving his occupation as ‘Electrical Engineer’. In June 1925 he married Lily Dorothy Jones and they lived in the St Kilda area of Melbourne, where he died in 1963 and Lily in 1967. They are both buried in Brighton Cemetery.



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