The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

100th Anniversary

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

CENTENARY of the sinking of the RMS Leinster

10th October 2018 will be the Centenary of the sinking of the RMS Leinster. We are working closely with the National Maritime Museum in Dun Laoghaire to ensure that this event, which affected the lives of so many people, is commemorated appropriately. (Both Philip Lecane and Brian Ellis are volunteers in the Maritime Museum).

The National Maritime Museum is situated in the 180-year-old Mariners Church, Haigh Terrace, Dun Laoghaire. It is only a short distance from the Carlisle Pier in Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) from which the RMS Leinster departed on its last voyage. It is also close to the Railway Station and the former Victoria Wharf area where many of the casualties and survivors were brought ashore after the sinking.

In the months before and after the 100th Anniversary of the sinking the National Maritime Museum will be have a special display covering the background to the sinking and those involved.

The core element of the Centenary is the people who were involved. The display will have particular emphasis on those who were on the RMS Leinster on that day so that we can help relatives and friends to better understand the background to the tragedy.

We are aware that there will be a significant number of relatives who are living far away from Ireland, including North America and Australia, and who may be planning to travel to Ireland for the Centenary. We hope to be able to make their visit as meaningful as possible.

Throughout the week of the Centenary the National Maritime Museum will be hosting a number of events and, in the meantime, we will keep you informed, through this website and our regular Bulletins, as details are finalised.

We would be pleased to receive stories and photographs, which relatives may have relating to the sinking of the RMS Leinster, which you may like to share with others through our website and the displays in the National Maritime Museum.

Please note, we have been advised by the Dept. of Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht that, due to the high level of interest, they are unable to accept new applications for the official RMS Leinster Commemoration at 10.30 a.m. on Wednesday, 10th October.

RMS Leinster's Sister Ship Remembered

In 1915, the Admiralty commandeered the RMS Connaught, one of the RMS Leinster's sister ships. On 5 May 1915, she left Holyhead for Southampton. For almost two years she was used to transport troops and equipment across the English Channel from Southampton to France. On the night of 2 March 1917, the RMS Connaught carried troops to Le Havre. The following day, 3 March 1917, the ship was returning to Southampton when, at 1.45pm, she was struck by a torpedo aft (near the back) on the starboard (right) side. Three of the crew - who were cleaning the ship after its latest contingent of passengers - were killed in the explosion. The remaining 74 crewmen took to the lifeboats. The ship was subsequently struck by a torpedo on the port (left) side and sank. Her position was 50.08 North, 00.45 West. The ship's crew were later picked up by the Hospital Ship Grantully Castle.  

RMS Connaught
RMS Connaught docked at Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire) some time before the First World War.

On 9 March 1917, U-48, the submarine which sank the RMS Connaught, torpedoed the merchant ship East Point. The submarine then dived and manoeuvred to attack another ship, unaware that the East Point was still underway. As the submarine came back to periscope depth, it was struck on its conning tower and water began to pour into the boat. The crew had to close a door to the conning tower, locking out the submarine commander and navigating officer. The submarine later surfaced with difficulty. After a burial service for Kapitänleutnant Berndt Buss and Navigating Officer Adolf Bergmann, the boat sailed back to Germany on the surface.

The crewmen lost on the RMS Connaught were Able Seaman Henry Charles Jasper (39) from Jersey in the Channel Islands, Able Seaman John Moran (33) from Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire), County Dublin, Ireland and Able Seaman William Charles Parkhurst (46) from Swansea, Wales. None of their bodies were recovered.

John Moran and Philip Lecane
At the National Maritime Museum of Ireland: Robert Moran, grandson of RMS Connaught casualty John Moran (left) and Philip Lecane (right).

The centenary of the sinking of the RMS Connaught was marked by a talk in the National Maritime Museum of Ireland by Philip Lecane, author of "Torpedoed! The RMS Leinster Disaster" and by a commemorative service in the Royal St George Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire, where casualty John Moran had been employed before the First World War.  Robert Moran, grandson of John Moran, attended both events.











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