The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

Thomas Hubert Deegan

DEEGAN, Thomas Hubert

Thomas Hubert Deegan was born on the 10th of February 1888, the eldest of the ten children of Francis Deegan and Mary Keenan. Francis’s (Frank) occupation was a Stereotyper or Printer, though where he worked is not known. The family lived at several addresses in inner city Dublin, moving every few years. The second and fourth children died in infancy and living conditions were not good. In the 1901 census the family of seven were living in one room in a tenement in North King Street, with six other families in the house.

In the 1911 census the family had moved to Cole’s Lane in Phibsborough and had three rooms for ten people, the youngest child being two and Thomas being twenty-three. Frank was not present, and has not been located, and Mary described herself as ‘Head of Household’. She was working as a Dressmaker and Thomas was a ‘Hotel Valet’. The next two sons, Francis and James, were both ‘Out of Employment’.

Francis enlisted with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers and was killed in action in Gallipoli in April 1915. He was named on a Roll of Honour entry in the Irish Independent in May. Frank Deegan died in May 1916 at the age of fifty with an address at Dorset Street and with his wife present at his death.

It is not known when Thomas began work with the City of Dublin Steam Packet Co. but he is named on the 1918 Crew List as Third Steward and that was his position on RMS Leinsteron the 10th of October 1918. According to fellow Steward and relation by marriage, Thomas Donnelly, (see his entry) in his statement to the Pensions Board in 1925, Thomas Deegan was a crew member from 1917 to 1919. Donnelly stated that he had introduced Thomas Deegan to his contacts in the Irish Volunteers and “he became one of our Intelligence men.” He further said that, during the Truce, he had been tasked with getting fifteen revolvers through the Customs Officers at Holyhead and “was helped by Deegan who was still on the boats.” He said that Deegan was “at present attached to Intelligence G.H.Q.”

Also in 1925 Thomas Deegan was a witness at a trial of a former army captain accused of the murder of a military policeman. He was described as ‘Agent 101A’. His address was given as 91 Lower George’s St., Dun Laoghaire.

He survived the sinking of the ship, but it is not known if he continued working at sea. He attended the dinner organised by fellow Steward Tom Connolly in October 1968 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the disaster. He married and had children and died in Drumcondra in 1971 at the age of eighty-three. His death certificate gave his occupation as ‘Retired Hotel Porter’ and the newspaper death notice said that he was ‘late of the Standard Hotel’ (Harcourt St.). He was buried in Glasnevin cemetery.



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