The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

Archibald William Hunter

HUNTER, Archibald

Archibald Hunter was born on the 14th of December 1889 in Glasgow to Archibald Graham Hunter and Elizabeth Chapman. Archibald Snr.’s occupation was ‘Storeman’ and Elizabeth was his second wife, his first having died at the age of twenty-eight. There were two children from this marriage, Mary and Philip, and then three were born in the second marriage, James Graham in 1888, Archibald in 1889 and Florence in 1893. By the 1911 census only Mary and Florence were with their parents and Archibald Snr. declared himself a ‘Church Missionary’. They moved to Dunolly Gardens in Ibrox shortly afterwards.

In 1913 James Graham Hunter went to Queensland, Australia as an ‘Accredited Methodist Home Missioner’ and was a theological student in King’s College, Kangaroo Point, Brisbane. According to the Brisbane Courier he was among the first to leave Queensland for the Front and he was killed at Gallipoli on the 28th of June 1915. He was a Corporal in the 9th Battalion of the Australian Infantry Force.

Archibald Hunter Jun. enlisted in the Cameron Highlanders and served with the 5th Battalion which was in France throughout the war. His full military records are not available so it is not known when he enlisted or at what rank. He was awarded the Military Cross in January 1917, reported in the Dundee Courier of the 11th of January, naming him as Temporary Captain. His citation for the award read “[he] displayed great courage and determination in consolidating the position and organising bombing parties, which repelled enemy counter attacks”.

It is not known why Archibald Hunter was in Ireland though the 3rd Reserve Battalion was stationed there since November 1917, and he may possibly have been temporarily attached to it. However it is also possible that he was on leave and visiting friends in Dublin. He travelled on RMS Leinster on the 10th of October and though he did not survive the sinking his body was recovered and he was buried in Mount Jerome Cemetery. This burial was organised by a ‘Friend’ C.S. Geaves, of Botanic Road, Dublin. That it was not a military funeral to Grangegorman Cemetery, as occurred for the other military casualties, suggests that he may not have been on duty in Ireland.

A headstone was erected in Mount Jerome by ‘Rev Archibald Hunter and Mrs Hunter of Glasgow’ in memory of their two sons, James Graham and Archibald. The latter’s name is also recorded on the City of Glasgow’s Roll of Honour while James is recorded on a memorial in King’s College in Brisbane. After his second wife, Elizabeth, died the Rev Hunter married for a third time and moved to Merrick Gardens, the address given on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s entry for Major Archibald Hunter.



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