Gary Box wrote on my story about being a Tombstone Tourist yesterday.
“I sometimes find wandering through cemeteries and reading the stones can be quite an emotional experience. I found a cenotaph bearing the name of Nursing Sister Jessie M. McDiarmid who drowned June 27th, 1918 by a German Submarine. I was so taken by the words that I looked up the incident and found the Hospital ship carrying Jessie and over 300 Canadian Soldiers to safety when it was torpedoed”.
“There was no warning and those who were not killed instantly were machined-gunned right in their lifeboats. Only about 25 people survived to tell the story. I also went to ST. Fillans Cemetery to find ancestors when I came across a McDiarmid family Grave and there on the bottom was Jessie’s name. I was quite taken by such a tragic, sad and emotional experience”.
“The sinking of the ship and the finding of the gravestone were purely coincidental and happened within 2 years of each other. I made the connection only because some else thought that Jessie was on the Lusitania when she was torpedoed on May 7th 1915…….my maternal grandparents were survivors of the U20 attack which sank the ship in 18 minutes. At the time the Lusitania was the greatest cruise ship in the world and this was the first incident of indiscriminate Warfare by the Germans, illegal under wartime “Rules”. The loss was 1200 passengers and 700 survivors The Germans then stopped, after this tragedy but reinstituted indiscriminate warfare when the U.S. was dragged into the War…..at least that’s how I heard it.”
“Here is the Cenotaph Story. The cenotaph is located at the Beckwith Sports Complex at Blacks Corners” Thanks Gary, I had to search for the story myself.
Gary Box runs runs the The Ottawa Valley Box Family, Relatives and Researchers and you should check it out.. CLICK
Jessie Mabel McDiarmid was born in Ashton, Lanark County, Ontario, Canada in August 14, 1880. She was the daughter of John McDiarmid, Beckwith Township, Ontario and niece of Mr. J. McDiarmid of Ashton, Ontario. She was 35 and single when she enlisted as a nurse with the Canadian Army Medical Corps and 37 when she died. Only twenty four of those on board, including the captain, survived the treacherous attack, which came without warning.
The submarine commander, who ordered the destruction of the Llandovery Castle declared that he had sunk the ship because she was carrying American aviation officers and others in the fighting service of the Allies. He added to this later by asserting that the vessel was carrying a lot of ammunition stores, because an explosion had occurred after.
The hospital ship that contained the 12 twelve nursing sisters capsized and the sisters were drowned. It is assumed that the fourteen nursing sisters reached a lifeboat, but so far as was known there was no trace of them after the ship sank in July of 1918.
- Vancouver Daily World,
- 03 Jul 1918, Wed,
- Page 1
Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place and The Tales of Almonte