Alfred William Le Marechal.

Date of Birth:            1886.Poppies
Place of Birth:          Southampton
Date of Marriage:
Place of Marraige.
Service:                      Mercantile Marine.
Rank:                          2nd Class Waiter.
Ship:                           H.M.H.S Llandovery Castle.
Died:                           27th June 1918
Death Location:      English Channel.


Life Before The War.
Alfred was born in Southampton in 1886 his parents were Elisabeth and William.

His father William Leon LeMarechal was christened on 20th June 1852, his grandfather was Charles Phillipe and his grandmother Anna Maria.

The census of 1851 shows that Alfred’s grandfather Charles Phillipe was born in Switzerland in 1806 and was a chronometer maker, his grandmother Anna Maria was born in South Hampshire in 1819.Also living with them were 3 sons Charles aged 8 born in Pimlico. London,Alfred Joseph born in York Street.Newcastle  aged 1 and  Ernest Robert born in Islington. London aged 3 and a daughter Maria Jeane age 6 born in London.

In the census of 1891 William and Elisabeth were living at Spring Cottage, South Stoneham. Bitterne.Southampton in 3 rooms, also at the address were Jane Le Marechal aged 5 yrs and Alice Le Marechal aged 1, William was employed as a driller in engine work and his birth place is given as Newcastle upon Tyne. Northumberland and Elisabeth’s birth place is given as Sunderland, Alice and Jane were both born in Bitterne.

Alfred married Edith Dorothy May Shillahear and on his death her address was given as 30, Tennyson Rd., Southampton.

Service History
Alfred served in the Mercantile Marine on H.M.H.S LLandovery  Castle which in 1916 was commissioned as a hospital ship used to transfer  sick and injured Canadians from Europe to Nova Scotia.

On 27th  June 1918 she was en route from Nova Scotia to Liverpool and although she was clearly displaying the red cross and had lights illuminating her, around 9.30pm she was torpedoed by U-86 and sunk in the Atlantic Ocean around 114 miles south west of Fastnet (Ireland). Men and women took to the sea and the 19 lifeboats.

The U boat captain – Lieutenant Helmut Patzig ordered  Captain Sylvester of the Llandovery Castle aboard the submarine for questioning/interrogation after which he was allowed back into the only lifeboat. The captain of the submarine then  rammed the lifeboats leaving survivors to drown, while opening fire on victims in the water  so there would be no  witnesses to his action,one lifeboat escaped saving 24 lives including the Captain who had been brutally treated after being interrogated on board the German submarine. 258 people died (164 crew, 80 officers and men of the Canadian Medical Corps and 14 nurses) , all non combatants.

This was the worst event at sea during World War 1 and became a war crime involving the trial of the U-boat’s captain escaped Germany and the courts jurisdiction and was never tried,  2 First Lieutenants were tried, convicted and sentenced to four years in prison, they escaped and never served .


Researched by Brenda White October 2014.

tower hill memorialx2

Tower Hill Memorial


HMHS Llandovery Castle.

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