The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

Tom Connolly


Tom Connolly was born in 1902 in Mulgrave St., Kingstown to Philip Connolly and Christina Lawless. When Philip married Christina Lawless in 1899 they gave the addresses of 5 and 6 Northumberland Place, and they were in Mulgrave St. in the 1901 census. At that stage Philip was a Van Driver, but on Tom’s birth certificate in 1902, Philip’s occupation was given as a stoker on the RMS Connaught. Philip and Christina had six children, Tom being second eldest.

On the 10th October 1918, Tom Connolly was working as an Under Steward or Cabin Boy on the RMS Leinster, a post he had only held for a few months. He was helping with breakfasts when the torpedo struck the ship. His father, Philip Connolly, had helped to launch one of the lifeboats and Tom got into the same boat, eventually being rescued by H.M.S. Lively. They were met on the shore by a relieved Christina.

Tom married Sheila Gaffney of Loughlinstown in 1934, having continued his seagoing career on the Canadian Pacific Line, which provided a transatlantic passenger service. They had at least three children. Tom’s father, Philip, died at 22 Tivoli Terrace East in 1948 at the age of seventy-nine.  In 1961 Tom opened the first supermarket in Dun Laoghaire on Patrick St. He featured in the article in the 1960 Dublin Post about the survivors of the sinking, and in 1968, on the 50th anniversary, he hosted a dinner for five others.


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