The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

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Edith Catherine Wilks

WILKS, Edith Catherine née Francis

Edith Catherine Francis was born in 1880 to Herbert Francis and Catherine Louisa Mycock, the third of their seven children. The family lived in Hackney, London where Herbert was a Fruit Merchant. In the 1891 census the eldest son was an apprentice in the Tea Trade. In the early 1900s the family moved to Fleetwood in Kent and in 1905 Edith married Percy Wilks in the Bromley district of Kent.

Percy Walter Wilks was a Coal Merchant, as was his father, and both the Wilks and Francis families were living on Lansdowne Road in Hackney in the 1881 census. Edith and Percy settled in Barnet in London where they had three children, Walter in 1907, Enid in 1910 and Dorothy in 1916. By then they had moved to Oxhey Road in Watford.

Percy Wilks enlisted as a Second Lieutenant with the Army Service Corps. It is not known what exactly his role was in October 1918, or why he was travelling on RMS Leinster on the 10th. Even more puzzling was why Edith was travelling with him; perhaps for some, presently unknown, family reasons. Neither Edith nor Percy survived the sinking of the ship but their bodies were recovered. Both were buried in the Wesleyan Officers Plot in Grangegorman Military Cemetery in Dublin. Percy was buried on the 14th of October, the day a large number of soldiers were interred in Grangegorman, with full military honours.

See two telegrams below sent on the day after the sinking from Blackrock P. O. to the Wilk’s home in Watford. The second telegram confirms that the body of Lieut. Wilks had been found. Edith’s body was recovered several days later.

Edith Catherine Wilks

Images courtesy John Toler, grandson

Edith Catherine Wilks

Edith was buried on the 18th and a note on the cemetery records seems to read ‘re-opened’, implying that her body was recovered some days later.



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