The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

Evan Rowlands


Evan Rowlands was born on the 11th of January 1868, according to his naval records, to William Rowlands and Dorothy Roberts. The family was living in Newborough on the south of the island of Anglesey, for which there seems to be a lack of public records. Evan was the eldest of the three children who have been identified. In the 1881 census William Rowlands was described as a ‘Farm Labourer and Carrier’. At the age of fourteen Evan went to sea and in the 1891 census, aged twenty-three, he was an Able Seaman on board the Anglesey, a ship owned by the London and North West Railway Co. berthed that night at the North Wall, Dublin.

Earlier that year he had married Elizabeth Williams from Newborough and they had three children in 1891, 1892 and 1894. They were living in Cecil Street in Holyhead. In 1897 Elizabeth died, aged twenty-two, indicating that she had only been sixteen when they married. In February 1905 Evan Rowlands remarried to Kate Ellis née Riley, who was herself a widow with a two year-old child. Evan and Kate, or Catherine, had six children together, three boys and three girls. The family lived in Well Street, in Holyhead.

The naval records for Evan Rowlands are somewhat patchy and he has not been found in the 1901 census. From 1904 until 1908 the National Archives of Ireland Crew Lists show him working for the City of Dublin Steam Packet Co. as Second Mate on RMS Ulster. In 1911 he was still with the Company and was on RMS Connaught as Quartermaster in the 1911 Irish census in Kingstown. He had enrolled in the Royal Naval Reserve in 1897 and was on active service when war was declared. He served on HMS Caroline and on SS Highland Piper whose regular route to South America was used to carry beef from Argentina to England. In April 1918 he re-joined the C.D.S.P.Co as Gunner and it was in that capacity that he was travelling on RMS Leinster on the 10th of October.

Evan Rowlands was the only one of the three Gunners on board to survive the sinking and he returned to Holyhead. In 1939 his eldest daughter, Dorothy, married Richard Williams, son of Richard Williams of Holyhead, a crew man on the Leinster who had not survived. Evan Rowlands died in June 1939. His eldest son, Owen, a First Radio Officer, died at Port Said, Egypt in May 1941.




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