The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

John James Valentine


John James Valentine was born on the 24th of March 1896, according to his Draft Registration Card, to Joseph and Eva Valentine. However the 1900 US census shows that he was born in 1893 and had been born in Punskas Suvalku, Russia and that the family had immigrated to the U.S. in 1896. Punskas is a village in the north-east of Poland, close to the Lithuanian border, where the majority of the population are Lithuanian, which is how the Valentine family identified themselves.

In 1900 the family was living in Winter Street, New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut where a daughter Anna had been born in 1897. Two of Joseph’s brothers, who had immigrated in 1893 and 1895, were living with them. William was a ‘Brass Buffer’, the other, John and Joseph, who was the eldest, were ‘Day Labourers’. By 1910 Joseph and his family were living in High Street and two more daughters, Eva and Mary, and a son Joseph had been born. In 1912 and 1913 the City Directory showed that John was an employee of P & F Corbin Hardware Company and Joseph was working for the C S Company. The family then were living at 154 Kelsey Street, where they remained.

In February 1917 both father and son were included in the state military census. John gave his then occupation as ‘Order Clerk’ having been a ‘Brakeman’ previously. When he enlisted in May 1917 he gave his occupation as ‘Core Maker’ in the Vulcan Iron Works. He enlisted in the US Navy and in was posted to Ireland in . In October 1918 he was in the Naval Training Base in Cork, the location of the American Fleet and a Naval Air Station. Presumably going on leave to the U.K. he travelled on RMS Leinster along with several other U.S. military and naval personnel.

John Valentine did not survive the sinking but his body was recovered. His U.S. Navy Burial record contains a note “Exhaustion Overexposure” “Drowning?” in the Cause of Death column. His body, as well as that of another US casualty, Roderick Perry Taylor, was embalmed before being brought back to the U.S. on USS Glacier. His next-of-kin was named as Mrs Eva Valentine. He was buried in Cypress Hill National Cemetery in New York.



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