Mr T. Lahy

Mr T. (Denis?) Lahy was born in Lambeth, London, England around 1875.

When he signed on to the Titanic, on 6 April 1912, Lahy gave his address as 19 Spurling Road, East Dulwich, London. His previous ship had been the Oceanic and as a fireman he could expect monthly wages of £6.

Lahy died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified.

The identity of Lahy is mysterious. The only real clues to this man come from the signing-on address he gave in 1912, 19 Spurling Road, East Dulwich, London. This was the home address of his aunt and uncle Charles and Lizzie Hammerton, the latter née Clarke. From this information we can work out that his mother was Louisa Clarke (b. 1851 in London) who was in turn married in Whitechapel in 1870 to a Thomas Lahy (b. 1844), a general labourer, possibly from Ireland and he is known to have had one sibling, a sister named Louisa Lizzie (b. 1874, later Mrs George Parker Bidder). What became of his parents is not clear; it seems his mother died before the close of 1877 and Lahy was raised by his maternal grandparents. It is possible his father died in 1901 in London.

No "T. Lahy" can be indentified on any census records between 1881 and 1901 and there is no identifiable birth record for him, unlike his sister. However, on the 1881 census, his sister Louisa is shown with her grandparents James and Elizabeth Clarke at 10 Bryton Row, Camberwell, London; present also is a five-year-old child, Dennis Lahy, her brother. Dennis Lahy was born in Lambeth, London, England in 1875, his birth being registered in the first quarter of 1876 and who would have been the same approximate age as "T. Lahy" in 1912. When young Dennis appears on the 1891 census he and his grandmother are by now living at an address in Newington, London, the home of his aunt and uncle Charles and Lizzie Hammerton, the latter née Clarke. Dennis was then described as a port errand boy.

Dennis Lahy was married in St Andrew's Church, Lambeth on 30 December 1894 to Annie Martin (b. 1879 in Lambeth). At the time he was described as a labourer. The couple had three children: Annie (1897-1913), Emma Louisa (1898-1899), Thomas Charles (b. 1899) and Alma Mary (b. 1901). The family appear on the 1901 census living at French Horn Cottage, Walnut Tree Walk, Lambeth, London and Dennis is described as an engineer's labourer. He and his wife had apparently divorced and she was remarried in 1909, becoming Mrs Joseph Sherrell. Joseph Sherrell (b. 1873), a window cleaner, was a native of Plymouth. Annie and her new husband appear on the 1911 census living at 34 Elmer Road, Catford, Lewisham, London. Also listed are several more children: Joseph (b. 1904), Edward Rupert (b. 1906), Adolphus William (b. 1908), Elaine May (b. 1910). A further two children, Enis C. (b. 1913) and Frank Oswald (1914-1985) would be born after.

There is no "Dennis Lahy" appearing on the 1911 census. However, a Thomas Lahy, born 1875 in Lambeth, was living at a lodgings address, St Michael's House, St Michaels Square, Southampton and he was described as an unmarried general labourer. 

Could it be that "T. Lahy" and Dennis Lahy were one and the same person? Could it be possible to surmise that Dennis Lahy, smarting from marital breakdown and other hardships, changed his name to Thomas, perhaps also in honour of his father?

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References and Sources

United States Senate, Washington 1912. n° 806, Crew List

Gavin Bell, UK
Bill Wormstedt, USA

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    (2015) T. Lahy Encyclopedia Titanica (ref: #1555, accessed 25th November 2015 04:17:36 PM)

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