People on board
John Coyne was born in County Galway about 1878. His father Martin was a farmer. John married Bridget McMahon in Bodyke, Co Clare on 18 March 1905. He gave his address as Tomgraney and his occupation as ‘Labourer’, while Bridget’s address was Ballydonahane, near Bodyke. Their first child, Mary, was born in Tomgraney, while the next three were born in nearby Scariff: Margaret 1907, John 1908 and Annie in 1910. In the 1911 census the family was living in Ballymalone, where four more children were born: Bridget 1912, Michael 1914, Patrick 1916 and William 1918. On all the birth certificates John gave his occupation as ‘Labourer’.
In 1917 John enlisted with the Royal Munster Fusiliers, but there are no records to indicate if he fought in France or not. He then transferred to the Labour Corps, in the Agricultural section. This Corps was manned by soldiers deemed unfit for frontline duty and worked in the UK and France. He was presumably returning to duty after leave at home when he was travelling on RMS Leinster on 10th October 1918but he did not survive the sinkingand his body was not recovered.
A letter was sent to the Emigration Officer at Kingstown from the Agricultural Company of the Labour Corps in Winchester enquiring if Private Coyne had taken passage on the Leinster, as he had not reported for duty.
His name is remembered on the Hollybrook Memorial in Southampton and is inscribed on the Clare WW1 Memorial in the Clare Peace Park, Ennis.
His widow Bridget married again in July 1921 to William O’Farrell of Raheen, Tomgraney. In 1922 she received the War and Victory medals awarded posthumously to John Coyne. Bridget died in 1934 aged seventy-four, once again a widow.