The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

Edwin Vere Proctor

PROCTOR, Edwin Vere

Edwin Vere Proctor was born in Limavady, Co Derry on the 22nd March 1888. His parents, James Edwin Proctor, a Solicitor, and Frances Jenkinson Orr had married in 1883 in the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin, although they were from Limavady and Co Armagh respectively. Edwin was the third son and fourth of the five children. The eldest son, James Claude, also became a Solicitor, practising in Limavady before he enlisted with the Inniskilling Fusiliers. He was killed at Thiepval on the 1st of July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme. The second son, George Norman, enlisted in the Indian Army and married in Bombay in 1924. The youngest daughter nursed in a military hospital in Leicester.

In the 1911 census Edwin Vere Proctor appeared in Dublin as a ‘Law Student’, aged twenty three, and he had been living in Trinity College in 1910. His later marriage notice said he was M.A., T.C.D. On the 19th of January 1914 he was on a ship to Melbourne, giving his status as ‘Gentleman’, but when he enlisted in the 21st Battalion of the Australian Imperial Force, Signal Section, as a Private, on the 25th January 1915, he gave his occupation as ‘Journalist’. His family address at that time was Tullydoey House, Moy, Co Tyrone.

In May 1916 when in Egypt, he volunteered for signals duty in the Dardanelles and was wounded in the shoulder. Back in Egypt he was received a mention for gallantry when he saved a soldier from drowning in the Nile. He refused a commission, preferring to stay in the ranks with the ‘Cornstalkers’. In France in August 1918 he was wounded again and was moved to the UK. He was presumably on leave in Ireland after a period in hospital when he found himself on RMS Leinster on the 10th October. He survived the sinking and the Derry Journal reported that “being a powerful swimmer, he kept himself afloat until he was picked up by a destroyer’.

Edwin Vere Proctor was discharged from the army in February 1919 and returned to Australia. He worked as a civil servant and later, as a farmer. In 1930 he married Lillian Gertrude Davis; they do not appear to have had any children. He died in Melbourne in 1941 and is buried in the Boroondara Cemetery with his wife Lilian.



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