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Harry William Kinshott

The spelling of the surname is shown correctly. Kinshott is traditionally used for some branches of the family who remained in or originated in, Hampshire.


Harry William Kinshott was born on 7th December 1883 in Fareham, Hampshire. His parents were George & Mary Ann Kinshott whose family originated in East Meon, Hampshire.  Harry is sometimes recorded as Henry, but his birth, baptism and marriage all record his name as Harry. He was the youngest of 10 children. His father was a Police Superintendent in Gosport, and his page can be viewed here


Harry married Daisy Jane Holyoak in 1907 and had one son, Cyril Walter Kinshott, who was born in 1909. They lived at 3 Hampshire Street, Landport, Portsmouth, Hampshire. Following Harry's death, Daisy continued to live at this address until her own death in 1957. 

Sometime after Cyril's birth, Harry emigrated to New Jersey, USA, to try to find work. He lived at 239 Henderson Street, Jersey City and remained there for some years, his wife and son joining him in June 1911. His search for work there ultimately proved unsuccessful and by 1915 the family had returned to England and were living at 8 York Street, Gosport, Hampshire. 


During the First World War Henry Kinshott was a waiter working in the Mercantile Marine Service. Unfortunately for him, this saw him working in that capacity on board the now infamous SS Lusitania.

The Lusitania was a large ocean going liner that weighed 32,000 tons. This was not as large as the earlier Olympic Class ships of the White Star Line, like the Titanic, Olympic and Brittanic, which all weighed in at over 45,000 tons, but the Lusitania was a huge ship nonetheless.


It left New York harbour for Liverpool on 1st May, 1915. On this fateful journey the ship carried 1,257 passengers and 650 crew. Henry William Kinshott was one of them.


There was some concern on board as a few days previously the German Embassy had published a statement that warned:


"Travellers intending to embark for an Atlantic voyage are reminded that a state of war exists between Germany and her allies and Great Britain and her allies; that the zone of war includes the waters adjacent to the British Isles; that in accordance with the formal notice given by the Imperial German Government, vessels flying the flag of Great Britain or any of her allies are liable to destruction in those waters; and that travellers sailing in the war zone in ships of Great Britain or her allies do so at their own risk."


At 1.20pm on 7th May 1915, the U-20 submarine, only ten miles off the coast of Ireland, surfaced to recharge her batteries. Soon afterwards the commander of the U-boat, Captain Schwieger, saw the Lusitania in the distance. Schwieger gave the order to advance on the liner. U20 had been at sea for seven days and had already sunk two other liners and only had two torpedoes left. He fired the first one from a distance of 700 metres. Watching through his periscope it soon became clear that the Lusitania was going down and so he decided against using his second torpedo.


After a second, larger explosion, the Lusitania rolled over and sank in eighteen minutes. A total of 1,198 people died (785 passengers and 413 crew). Henry William Kinshott was one of them. 


Henry William Kinshott's body went down with the ship and was not recovered. He is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial in London. He was my 6th cousin twice removed.  

In August 1915, Harry's widow, Daisy, was paid the balance of wages owing to her late husband in respect of his service on board the Lusitania, which was reckoned from 17th April 1915, until 8th May, 24 hours after the vessel had sunk. Additionally, The Liverpool and London War Risks Insurance Association Limited granted her a yearly pension to compensate her for the loss of her husband.  This amounted to £45-7s-1d per annum, payable at the rate of £3-15s-8d per month.

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