The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

James Carraher


James Carraher was born on the 3rd January 1882 to Walter Carraher and Ellen Lacey in Cahore, Co. Wexford. His parents had married in 1877 and there were six children in the marriage, before Ellen died in 1890. Walter remarried in 1893 to Mary Murphy and there were three further children before Mary died in 1898. Walter married for a third time to Elizabeth Fisher in 1899 and there were five children in that marriage. Walter died in 1921.

James Carraher joined the Royal Navy in August 1897 at the age of 15, first serving on HMS Melampus. He served until 1908, when his final ship was HMS Vernon. In September 1909 he married Mary Dunne in Riverchapel, Co Wexford, giving his address as ‘Kingstown Mail Steamer’. However, she died the following March from T.B. He was on board the RMS Connaught with Captain Birch in Kingstown Harbour in the 1911 census, listed as a ‘Seaman’. He married Esther Knowles in August 1912 in Rathnew, Co Wicklow where she had been born, but both gave an address at Coldwell St., Kingstown, with James adding SS Leinster. They went on to have six children.

James Carraher was Boatswain (Bos’n) on the RMS Leinster on its final journey. Responsible for all aspects of work of the deck crew, he was on the deck when the torpedo struck and knocked him off his feet. He helped prepare and lower a lifeboat and a number of life rafts. Before the ship went down he jumped over the side and was later picked up by HMS Lively.

Esther Carraher died at their home in Findlater St. in Glasthule in 1936. James was interviewed by the Dublin Post in 1960 along with other RMS Leinster survivors, reporting that he had retired seven years earlier “after a full seafaring life”. James died in Findlater St in 1964 at the age of 82.



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