The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster
 

People on board

Christopher Hynes

HYNES, Christopher John

Christopher John Hynes was born in Liverpool on the 10th of July 1889 to John Hynes and Elizabeth Owen, the eldest of nine children. John, a Seaman, was born in Dublin and Elizabeth was born in Holyhead. In the 1891 census they were living in the Coastguard Station in Amlwch, Anglesey where John was a ‘Boatman’. In 1897 Christopher was attending school in Fishguard while his father worked at Goodwick Coastguard Station. The 1901 census showed that a daughter had been born in Devon, another in Pembrokeshire and a third the previous year in Holyhead, where they were then settled. The family had moved to Kingstown by 1911 by which time four of the younger children had died. They were living at 31 Wolfe Tone Square, a three roomed house for the family of two adults and five children, and where they stayed until the 1920s.

Christopher HynesChristopher married Sarah Ann Daly in September 1914 in St Michael’s Church in Kingstown and lived at her address of 20 St Mary Road. A son, Patrick John, was born the following year and other children followed. Christopher was a ‘Fireman’, presumably on ships, when he married and he is recorded on the crew of RMS Connaught in 1916. This ship had been commandeered by the British War Office from the City of Dublin Steampacket Company in 1915 and was sunk by a German torpedo in February 1917. Most of the crew, including Christopher Hynes, were rescued.

He was on duty in the engine room of RMS Leinster on the 10th of October 1918 when the torpedo hit the ship. He recalled later that, with others, he had rushed to the lifeboat station and managed to get a boat afloat. They drifted for some hours before being picked up and brought to Kingstown.

Ten years later, in June 1928, Christopher Hynes had another narrow escape when the steamer carrying timber that he was working on as Second Engineer was caught in a fierce storm in the English Channel. The seven man crew managed to get into a small boat just as the steamer turned turtle and were rescued after several hours. That same month a child born to Christopher and Sarah only lived two hours.

Christopher Hynes later moved from Dun Laoghaire to Dalkey where he lived into old age surrounded by children and grandchildren. He was present in 1968 at the fiftieth anniversary of the sinking when some of the remaining survivors came together again. A family marriage also linked him to the family of Mary Coffey, a Stewardess on RMS Leinster, who also survived the sinking.

 

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