The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

Arthur William Pankhurst

PANKHURST, Arthur William

Arthur William Pankhurst was born in January 1878 in Strood, Kent to John Pankhurst, a Gardener, and Sarah Wray. Arthur had two older brothers and a younger, adopted, brother. In January 1901 he enlisted with the Imperial Yeomanry in an active unit and was sent to South Africa. He was awarded the Kings South Africa Medal and was promoted to Sergeant.

On his return to England he married Rose Donovan in Strood in the summer of 1902. The previous year Rose had been working as a Cook/Domestic, along with her sister Lily, in Wellington College, Crowthorne. Their first child, Dorothy Rose, was born in Chertsey, Surrey, where Arthur was working as a Gardener, but they then moved back to Crowthorne where four more children were born by 1911. In the census of that year Arthur gave his occupation as Butler. They then moved to Wellington in Shropshire.

When war broke out in 1914 Arthur volunteered for military service, and though aged thirty-six was accepted into the Shropshire Yeomanry. His unit was initially posted to Northumberland until early 1918 when they were sent to the Hare Park Camp in the Curragh, outside Dublin. He was returning to England on leave when he travelled on RMS Leinster on the 10th of October. Arthur Pankhurst did not survive the sinking but his body was recovered on the coast of Scotland.

Arthur William Pankhurst
     Photo: Douglas Swan

His Scottish death certificate states that “He was found dead in Kirkcudbright Bay of the Solway Firth at Burnfoot, Borgue” on the 22nd November 1918. His occupations were given as Butler and Sergeant in the Shropshire Yeomanry, and his ‘Usual Residence’ was Jessamine Cottage, Millfield, Wellington.
Arthur’s body was buried in Kirkcudbright Cemetery along with four other casualties from the Leinster. Each has an individual headstone and there is also a Memorial stone erected by voluntary contributions.

His widow Rose remained in Wellington until 1923 when they emigrated to New Zealand. She remarried in 1926 and died in New Plymouth in 1957.




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