The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

Harry Sheerman


Harry Sheerman was born in early 1900 in Burghclere, Hampshire to Daniel Sheerman and Minnie Maskell. Burghclere is a village a short distance from Highclere Castle, the country seat of the Earl of Caernarvon and the Sheerman family had lived in the village since the mid-18th century, with many working on the estate. Daniel Sheerman was a Blacksmith, as had been his father before him, according to census records. The 1891 census shows Daniel’s father Robert as a ‘Blacksmith Master’ and Daniel and his older brother Sidney as ‘Blacksmith Journeyman’. A younger brother Frank was a ‘Joiners Apprentice’, and he went on to work as a Carpenter on the estate for many years. The youngest brother Percy, aged fifteen, was a ‘Nurseryman on Estate’.

Minnie Maskell was born in Highclere village and she and Daniel married in 1899. They had three children, Harry, Bessie in 1902 and Fred in 1904 and they lived in White Hill, Burghclere. It is not known what Harry was working at before he enlisted, nor in which year. He was a Private in the Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry which had been converted to a Cyclist Unit in 1916 and had moved to Ireland in early 1918, and was based in Dublin. He was presumably returning to England on leave when he, along with three other Privates from the Wiltshire Yeomanry, travelled on RMS Leinster on the 10th of October 1918. None of the four survived though the bodies of the other three were recovered and buried in Grangegorman Military Cemetery in Dublin.

Harry Sheerman’s body was not recovered but he is remembered on the Hollybrook Memorial in Southampton. He is also listed on a marble tablet in Burghclere’s Church of the Ascension and on a Roll of Honour in Highclere Castle Archive. Both the Church Memorial and the Castle archive have a ‘Roll of Service’ which, in addition to Harry Sheerman, also names a Frank Sheerman. This may be Harry’s uncle Frank who was Carpenter in the Castle.

Daniel Sheerman died in 1924 but Minnie lived on until 1959. She and Bessie, who never married, were together in White Hill Cottage, Burghclere in the 1939 Register, while Fred, who also remained single, was a ‘Groom’ living in Berkshire at that time.



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