Wilhelmina Burton was likely to have been Wilhelmina Gates who was born towards the end of 1857 in Southampton. She married William Pascoe Burton in the summer of 1875 and in 1891 the family were living at 45 Albany Road, Millbrook, Southampton. They had six children and William was working as a clerk in the employ of London and Southampton Works Company.
There is no further information about the family, however in 1918, 61 year old Wilhelmina was serving as a stewardess in the Mercantile Marine on board the merchant ship S.S.South Western.
The S.S.South Western was sunk by the German submarine, UB59, on 16th March 1918 nine miles south-west of St Catherine’s Point, Isle of Wight. It was on a voyage from Southampton to St Malo carrying a general cargo.
Wilhelmina was one of the 24 crew members who died at sea. Another stewardess, 46 year old Mrs E.B. Cochrane who had been born in Limerick, was also drowned.
Wilhelmina is commemorated on the London and South Western Rail Memorial as Mrs W Burton. Mrs E B Cochrane is also remembered on the memorial. They are also both remembered on the Merchant Navy Memorial set up by a relative of one of the casualties of the S.S.South Western.