Mina Hugill was born in Seamer, Yorkshire, England, in 1893, the daughter, and one of four children of Thomas Henry and Maria Hugill (née Thomas). Her father was a blacksmith, and Mina had a twin brother named Fred.
Nothing is known of her early life, but in the latter half of 1914, she married Harold Chantry in Seamer. Harold was a bank clerk who was working in a local bank.
On the 21st November 1914, the couple boarded the Lusitania as second cabin passengers at Liverpool and travelled across the Atlantic Ocean to New York City, arriving on the 28th November. From there, they travelled to Nelson, British Columbia, Canada, to spend a holiday with relatives or friends. In late 1914 or early 1915, whilst still in Canada, Mina Chantry gave birth to a daughter, named Elizabeth Ellen.
In the spring of 1915, the family decided to return home to England and they again booked second cabin passage on the
Lusitania which was scheduled to leave the Cunard berth at Pier 54 in New York at 10.00 a.m. on 1st May 1915. They left Nelson, British Columbia, in late April, and travelled overland to New York City.
Arriving at the Cunard berth at Pier 54 in New York in time to board the liner, all three family members then had to wait until the early afternoon before the liner left port. This was because she had to wait to embark passengers, crew and cargo from the liner Cameronia which the British Admiralty had requisitioned for war service as a troop ship at the end of April.
Then, six days out of New York on the afternoon of 7th May, and within sight of the coast of southern Ireland, the
Lusitania was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-20. At that time, she was only about 250 miles away from her Liverpool destination. Mina Chantry was killed as a result of this action. She was aged 21 years.
Her husband and daughter also lost their lives in the sinking and as none of their bodies was ever recovered from the sea and identified afterwards, none has a known grave.
The Chantry family are commemorated on the gravestone of Harold’s parents in St. James’ Churchyard, Rawcliffe, in the East Riding of Yorkshire. The inscription relating to them on the headstone states: -
In Loving Memory of
HAROLD, FIFTH SON OF THE ABOVE
AGED 23 YEARS
ALSO MINA, HIS WIFE.
AGED 22 YEARS.
AND INFANT DAUGHTER WHO
WERE LOST WITH THE
S.S. LUSITANIA, MAY
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1901 Census of England & Wales, 1911 Census of England & Wales, New York Passenger Lists 1820 – 1957, Canadian Passenger Lists 1865 – 1935, U.S. Border Crossings from Canada to U.S. 1895 – 1960, Cunard Records, PRO BT 100/345, Deaths at Sea 1871 – 1968, Graham Maddocks, Reverend Philip Ball, Geoff Whitfield, Michael Poirier, Jim Kalafus, Cliff Barry, Paul Latimer, Norman Gray.
Copyright © Peter Kelly.