Leckey, Muriel Emily

Leckey, Muriel Emily

Sister

No. 208615, Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service

Died as a result of enemy action on Saturday 12 February 1944 (aged 32)

No known grave

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Brookwood Memorial, Surrey, England (Panel 22 Column 2)

Holywood and District War Memorial

Bronze Plaque in Ards Hospital

Sister of Second Officer George McClelland Leckey

BIOGRAPHY

Muriel Emily Leckey was born in Marine Parade, Holywood on 26 June 1911 and she was a daughter of Henry (Harry) and Mary Ann Leckey (nee McClelland) who was born on 22 September 1877 in the townland of Cloven Eden, Co. Armagh.  Harry Leckey and Mary Ann McClelland were married on 20 June 1906 in Loughgall Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Luke’s), Co. Armagh.  Henry Leckey, a grocer from Holywood was a son of James Leckey, a carpenter.  Mary Ann McClelland from Cloven Eden was a daughter of George McClelland, a farmer.

Harry and Mary Ann Leckey (nee McClelland) had at least six children:

James (born 1 July 1907 in Cloven Eden)

Eileen Elizabeth (born 7 June 1909)

Muriel Emily (born 26 June 1911 in Marine Parade, Holywood)

George McClelland (born 8 June 1913 in Marine Parade, Holywood)

Henry (born 7 April 1918 at 53 Prospect Road, Bangor)

William Edward (born 31 July 1919)

In 1910 the Leckey family moved from County Armagh to 2 Church Avenue, Holywood and the first four children were baptised in First Holywood Presbyterian Church.  The last two children were baptised in Hamilton Road Presbyterian Church, Bangor.

George was the first of the two Leckey siblings to die as the result of enemy action during the Second World War.

Muriel Emily Leckey attended Sullivan Upper School in Holywood from 1923 until 1927.  She started work in Ards Hospital on 4 July 1934 and qualified as a State Registered Nurse (SRN) in October 1937.  She continued working in Ards Hospital until December 1938 and then did private nursing until she joined Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service.  In February 1944 she was drafted to the Far East and it was on that voyage that she lost her life.  Sister Muriel Emily Leckey was 32 when she died aboard the SS Khedive Ismail.  This ship was launched as the Aconcagua by Scotts of Greenock in 1922 and then in 1935 renamed Khedive Ismail when she passed into Egyptian ownership.  In 1940 the Khedive Ismail was requisitioned as a British troopship.

On 6 February 1944 Convoy KR-8 sailed from Kilindini Harbour in Mombasa, Kenya to Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).  The convoy comprised five troop transport ships escorted by one heavy cruiser, HMS Hawkins, and two destroyers, HMS Paladin and HMS Petard.  In the early afternoon of 12 February 1944, the convoy was attacked in the One and a Half Degree Channel in the Maldive Islands (also known as the Suvadiva Channel) by the Japanese submarine I-27.  After being hit by two torpedoes, the Khedive Ismail sank in less than two minutes with the loss of almost 1,300 lives, including about 80 women, most of whom were nursing sisters.  Among the crew members who died was Junior Engineer Officer John Corbett Hall from Carnalea.  Efforts were made to rescue survivors who were floundering in the sea, while at the same time depth charges were released to force the Japanese submarine back to the surface.  When it surfaced, I-27 was rammed by HMS Paladin and finally sunk by a torpedo fired from HMS Petard.

Muriel Emily Leckey’s last home address was 14 Marine Parade, Holywood, her effects amounted to some £269 and probate was granted to her father who was described as a coal agent.

Sister Muriel Emily Leckey is commemorated on Holywood and District War Memorial and on a bronze plaque in Ards Hospital which was unveiled on 8 January 1949.