The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

John George Nixon

NIXON, John George

John George Nixon was born in May 1884 in Shildon, Co. Durham to John Nixon, a Coal Miner, and Margaret Fothergill. He was the eldest of the five children in the family and the only son. In 1901 the family had moved to the nearby town of Bishop Auckland and John George was working as a ‘Stable Boy Domestic’ while his father was a ‘Coal Miner Hewer’. In February 1909 John George Nixon married Emily Allinson in Bishop Auckland and a daughter, Lily, was born the following year. In the 1911 census John was described as a ‘Shop Assistant’. Emily was born in 1912 and Lawrence in 1916, both in Bishop Auckland.

The original military records for John Nixon are not available but the abstracts collated after the war indicate that he had enlisted in the 3rd Reserve Battalion of the Black Watch (Royal Highlanders). Unexpectedly however, his address in 1918 is given as Mundare, Alberta, Canada. Neither he nor his family could be found on passenger lists to Canada, but it appears that they had emigrated some time after the birth of Lawrence. It is also not known when or why he enlisted with the Black Watch, a Scottish regiment.

The 3rd Reserve Battalion of the Black Watch moved to Ireland in November 1917, initially to Cork and in March 1918, to the Curragh camp, outside Dublin. John Nixon was presumably returning to England on leave, along with three others from his regiment on board RMS Leinster on the 10th October 1918. Three of the four died in the sinking of the ship, including John Nixon, and his body was not recovered.

Passenger lists to Canada show Emily travelling there from England in September 1919 with the three children and the family remained there.


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