The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

William Little

LITTLE, William

William Little was born in 1890 in Egremont, Cumberland to Robert Little and Mary Jane Cockbain, the third of their four children. Robert and Mary Jane’s marriage in 1886 caused a major sensation, published nationwide in newspapers, when the clergyman who performed the ceremony without a license, knowing that banns had not been read, was jailed for eighteen months. At the time Robert was a minor while Mary Jane was a few years older, and the marriage was opposed by Robert’s mother.

In the 1891 census Robert gave his occupation as ‘Insurance Agent’. In 1892 the youngest child was born and in the 1901 census Mary Jane declared herself a Widow, though a death certificate for Robert has not been found. In that census she gave her occupation as ‘Shopkeeper, Grocer and Confectioner’ and the family was living in South Street, Egremont. By 1906 she had moved to Gosforth, on the edge of the Lake District, where she was the proprietor of the Globe Hotel. In 1911 only William and his younger sister Edith were with her. William gave his occupation as ‘Grocers Assistant’. He married Ada Taylor in 1917 and a daughter, Nora, was born in 1918.

William Little enlisted at Seascale in the Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry but unfortunately his original records are not available. The transcripts give him two Service Numbers, 2494 and 315399, and two Ranks, Acting Sergeant and Sergeant. There is no indication of when he enlisted or where he served. In October 1918 he was with 2/1st Battalion, a Training Reserve, which had moved to Ireland in May 1918. Presumably returning home on leave, he travelled on RMS Leinster on the 10th. He did not survive the sinking nor was his body recovered.

His name is recorded on the Hollybrook Memorial in Southampton and on the Gosforth St Mary Churchyard Memorial Plaque.


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