People on board
PASKER, William John
William John Pasker was born on the 29th of July 1876 in Rutland Street in Dublin to John Henry Pasker and his second wife, Ellen Pridham. Born in Stoke Demerel in Devon in 1833, William’s father John gave his occupation on the birth certificate as ‘Naval Pensioner’. John had married Amelia Glover in 1855 in Stoke Demerel and a daughter, Emma, was born in 1865 in the Coast Guard Station in Kingstown, John’s occupation being given as ‘Seaman’. There may have been other, as yet unidentified, children of this marriage. Amelia appears to have died shortly after this birth. Meanwhile William’s mother Ellen Pridham, born in 1832 in Devonport, had married George Millar Arthurs, a Seaman, in Stoke Demerel in 1857 and they had a son, George and a daughter Ellen. George Millar died some time in the early 1860s and in 1868 William John Pasker and Ellen Elizabeth Arthurs married in Stoke Demerel.
It is not known when the couple moved to Ireland or if any children, other than William John, were born. John Henry Pasker died in Bray, Co Wicklow in April 1883, described on his death certificate as a ‘Coast Guard Pensioner’. Eight years later, in the 1901 census, his widow Ellen and twenty-three year old William John Pasker were living with George Arthurs, her son from her first marriage. George was married with seven children and living in Frankfort Avenue in Rathmines. He was a Superintendent in the Sorting Office of the G.P.O. and both his nineteen-year old son and William Pasker were Clerks in the Sorting Office. In the 1911 census one of his daughters was a Telegraphist in the G.P.O. William Pasker had started work in the Post Office in 1895.
On the 10th of October 1918 William Pasker was not scheduled for duty that day but was requested to fill in for a sick colleague. This would probably have been routine and he would have gone on board RMS Leinster in Kingstown with the twenty-one others and settled to work sorting the mail as the ship travelled to Holyhead. When the torpedo struck the ship the Post Office compartment immediately started filling with water and only four of the team escaped, and of those, only one survived the sinking. Pasker did not escape but his body was recovered, unlike most of the others, and taken to the City Morgue. From there the funeral went to Mount Jerome cemetery where he was buried.
His name is inscribed on the memorials in the G.P.O. in Dublin and in the Post Office in Dun Laoghaire.