The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

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Sydney George Crawford

CRAWFORD, Sydney George

Sydney George Crawford was born on the 25th of August 1897, the youngest of the six children of William Henry Crawford and Eliza McGrath. William, from County Cavan, and Eliza from County Monaghan married in the district of Castleblayney in 1881. When the eldest child, Letitia Harriette, was born in 1882 they were living in Banagher, County Offaly, where William was a Labourer. The family moved to the Murphystown area of south Dublin, where two more daughters were born, Sarah in 1884 and Eliza in 1887 and a son, William, in 1891. The latter died at the age of two by which time they had moved to the Stillorgan district where William was a Gardener. Here Ernest was born in 1895, followed by Sydney.

Sydney was studying engineering in 1914 when war was declared and he immediately joined the South Irish Horse in September. He was discharged as medically unfit the following January, but enlisted in the 7th Royal Irish Rifles in March. He served with them on the Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders, including in the Battles of the Somme. He received a commission in March 1916 and joined the Royal Dublin Fusiliers as 2nd Lieutenant and was involved in more action in France, including the Passchendaele operation.

Sydney George CrawfordHe was on leave in Ireland in October and was returning to England with his sister Letitia on RMS Leinster on the 10th. He had been promoted Lieutenant on the 9th but may not have known about this. The two were seen off by their parents at Kingstown “in the best of health and spirits”, according to the Irish Independent on the 14th. Neither Sydney nor Letitia survived the sinking and Letitia’s body was never recovered. Several weeks later however the body of Sydney Crawford was recovered from the sea in the Kirkcudbright area of Scotland. He was laid to rest in Kirkbean Parish Churchyard on the 22nd of November and a small white marble cross was erected over the grave.

In 1920 a memorial was erected in St Brigid’s Church in Stillorgan in memory of Sydney and Letitia.

Both are also remembered on the family grave in Deansgrange cemetery.



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