The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

Clarence Edwin McDermid

McDERMID, Clarence Edwin

Clarence Edwin McDermid was born in Darlington, Co Durham in 1892 to Edwin James McDermid and Florence Ada Martin. He was the eldest of their four children, two sons and two daughters. The family lived in Salisbury Terrace in Darlington where Edwin was first a ‘Clerk in Engineering Works’ and then ‘Manager Railway Wagon Work’. By 1911 they were living in Horbury, near Wakefield in Yorkshire though the youngest daughter had been born in 1904 in Cumberland.

Horbury was the site of Charles Roberts’ Buffer and Wagon Works and Edwin gave his occupation in the 1911 census as ‘Railway Repairing Works Manager’ and the second son Percy was a ‘Railway Motor Works Junior Draughtsman’. Clarence’s occupation was ‘Colliery Draughtsman’, though it is not clear where he was working. He was later employed as a Draughtsman at Houghton Main Colliery near Barnsley.

In November 1914 Clarence McDermid enlisted in the Yorkshire Mounted Brigade Field Ambulance Reserves and was promoted to Corporal the following February. In March 1917 he transferred to the 341st Field Ambulance and then to the Royal Army Medical Corps in May and was promoted Acting Sergeant in June. He was stationed in Bridlington in North Yorkshire when he married Janet Muriel Hemsworth Witty in October 1917.

He was moved to Ireland some time in 1918 and was hospitalised with influenza in Fermoy, Co Cork at the end of May. It is not known when his wife Janet joined him in Ireland but they were together returning to England for her father’s funeral when they travelled on RMS Leinster on the 10th of October. Clarence did not survive the sinking but Janet did, and was brought back to Kingstown. Clarence’s body was never recovered but his name is recorded on the Hollybrook Memorial in Southampton.

Janet McDermid was awarded a pension of 16s 3d a week in May 1919. She married a Scot, William Blair Smillie, in 1927 and went to live in Glasgow.



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