Blackburne was drowned when the Royal Mail Steamer Leinster was torpedoed in the Irish Sea. His wife survived but two children, Beatrice Audrey and Charles Bertram, died together with a governess, Miss de Pury. The sinking of the Leinster resulted in the deaths of 501 of the complement of 771, and was widely viewed as an outrage comparable to the Lusitania, although it has been noted that the ship was carrying nearly 600 troops (from Stokes, Roy, 1998. “Death in the Irish Sea”, The Collins Press).
Blackburne was born in Oldham and living in Sussex in 1881.
From the County Herald, October 1918
It has been established that Lieut.-Col. Charles Harold Blackburne, D.S.O., formerly of The Tyddyn, Mold, along with his two children, Beatrice Audrey (aged eleven years) and Charles Bertram (aged seven years), went down with the Irish mail steamer “Leinster,” on 10th inst. It appears that the deceased officer, who was 41 years of age, was crossing over from Ireland with the ill-fated vessel, being accompanied by Mrs. Blackburne and the two children named. They were intending to visit friends at Mold, where they had resided for a period of eight years. Their non-arrival occasioned some surprise, and eventually communication was opened with Mrs. Blackburne, who is among the survivors from the “Leinster,” and who forwarded the tragic news that her husband and two children had been drowned. The members of the family were well known in social circles at Mold. Lieut. Colonel Blackburne was a cavalry officer in the early stages of the war, and took part in the retirement from Mons. In June, 1915, he was wounded in the left shoulder, and soon afterwards he and his family took up their residence in Ireland. The house and estate known as “The Tyddyn” have lately been acquired by Mr. J. Graham Reece, head of a well-known Liverpool firm of engineers. Much sympathy is felt in Mold and district at the sudden and irreparable loss sustained by Mrs. Blackburne. We believe that the deceased officer took some part in the South African war.
Charles Blackburne is also commemorated on the Mold Memorial. Additional information is found at Buckley at War. See also Joseph McIntosh‘s page on the Connah’s Quay and Shotton Memorial and George Wright Mole’s page on the Bagillt Memorial. They also died on RMS Leinster