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Person Details
John Bignall was born in 1896 at Nottingham and was the son of Samuel, a colliery banksman, and Emma Bignall (néé Johnson) of 102 Alfreton Road, Nottingham. His father Samuel was born in 1862 at Nottingham and his mother Emma Johnson was also born in 1862 in Nottingham. They were married on 4th April 1881 at Radford Christ Church, Nottingham, and had 11 children, sadly three were to die in infancy or early childhood. Their children were all born in Nottingham and were: Ada b1881, Thomas Robert b1882, Emma Ann b1883, Mary Ann b1885, Samuel b1887, Clara b1890, Fred b1892, John b1896 and Robert b1897. In the 1911 census the family was living at 3 Pelican Passage, Pelican Street, Nottingham, and shown as Samuel 49 yrs a colliery banksman, his wife Emma 49 yrs and their children, Samuel 24 yrs a fitter, Clara 20 yrs a shop assistant, Fred 18 yrs a perambulator painter, John 15 yrs an errand boy and Robert 13 yrs an errand boy.
15 Mar 1918
2894281 - CWGC Website
Depot Royal Warwickshire Regiment
Formerly 5425 of the Robin Hood Rifles. Private John Bignall enlisted at Nottingham and served at the Depot, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He was reported missing, presumed drowned, on 15th March 1918 when the TSS Rathmore was involved in a collision in the Irish Sea. John's body was not recovered for burial and he is commemorated on the Hollybrook Memorial, Southampton.
The incident involving TSS Rathmore and the subsequent loss of life was widely reported across the UK over several weeks. The reports were probably syndicated but there were discrepancies in reports regarding the circumstances of the collision, whether TSS Rathmore was in collision with a naval vessel and the number injured or died. The following is a selection of these reports: Dundee Evening Telegraph, 15 March 1918: ‘A special telegram from Dublin states that the London and North-Western steamer Rathmore was in collision with a naval boat this morning and was badly damaged … 640 passengers, mainly military were taken off by destroyers … 26 are missing.' Westminster Gazette, 16 March 1918: ‘The ‘Rathmore’ Collision. According to latest official information from the L. and N.W. Railway Company, one soldier is missing as the result of the collision in which the steamship ‘Rathmore’ was involved in the Irish Channel yesterday. There was no loss of life among the civilian passengers.’ Oxfordshire Weekly News, 20 March 1918 (extract): ‘steamer Rathmore came into collision with a trawler off the Irish coast, on Thursday night, and was so damaged that the passengers and crew had to abandon her… a number of destroyers hurried to her rescue and took off most of the passengers and crew.’ Leicester Journal, 22 March 1918: ‘Steamer collides with Naval Boat. A London and North-Westrn steamer was in collision on Friday with a naval vessel in the Irish Sea. Destroyers took 610 passengers, mainly military, from the Rathmore and landed them at Kingstown. Twenty-six people from the Rathmore are missing, and 20 survivors were injured. The Rathmore was towed into Dublin.’ All the reports are from the website: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk
Remembered on