The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

James Thomas McLean

McLEAN, James Thomas

James Thomas McLean was born in Kidderminster in 1885 to Martin McLean (also McLeen) and Harriet Maria Dyer. Martin McLean had been born in Ireland as had Harriet Dyer’s parents. James was the eldest of their five children. In the 1891 census Harriet, with an occupation as ‘Rug Weaver’ and with her three eldest children, was with her parents and sisters in Kidderminster. Martin’s name has not been found in that year.

Early in 1901 the third child, Ellen, died. Martin, Harriet and the remaining four children were living in Clensmore Street in Kidderminster where Martin gave his occupation as a Bricklayer. James, then aged fifteen was a ‘Carpet Packer’, while his thirteen year old sister Annie was a ’Bobbin Gatherer in Spinning Mill’. Later that same year Martin McLean died, aged forty.

In 1911 the family were split between Kidderminster and Shrewsbury where James and his youngest sister were living with his aunt, Harriet’s sister, and her family. His uncle, Joseph Hayes, was a ‘Builder and Contractor’ and James was a ‘Builder’s Clerk’. In 1915 he married Philomena Elsie (Elsie on marriage record) Ambler whose family lived on the same street, Abbey Foregate, in Shrewsbury as the Hayes family. A girl was born that year who did not survive and another, Margaret, was born in 1918.

James McLean enlisted in Shrewsbury in March 1915 in the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry and was posted to the 3rd Battalion. This was a Reserve Training Unit, stationed at Pembroke Dock in Wales before moving to Cork in December 1917. On the 10th of October 1918 James, then a Sergeant, was returning to England on leave when he travelled on RMS Leinster. He did not survive the sinking but his body was recovered and he was buried in Grangegorman Military Cemetery in Dublin. His name is recorded on the Shrewsbury Cathedral War Memorial.

Philomena McLean was still living in Abbey Foregate in Shrewsbury in 1939 when she was recorded in the Register living with her daughter Margaret and two older Ambler siblings.



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