People on board
According to the age given on his death certificate, John Doyle was born in 1868 but where is not known, nor who his parents were. An extensive obituary in the Kilkenny People in December 1938 is the main source of information on his life. Sympathy is expressed to his wife on her bereavement but no family is mentioned. John Doyle’s army pension records give his wife’s name as Mary but it is not known when or where they were married.
The obituary mentions that he had spent “several years in America”, presumably before he enlisted in the 8th Battalion of the Royal Irish Fusiliers, Service Number 21943, where he was a Corporal. He served in France and was wounded in action twice, in June 1916 and June 1917, later transferring to the Hampshire Regiment, Service Number 05608. He was awarded the British War and Victory Medals. According to the obituary he was returning to France after a short furlough when he travelled on RMS Leinster on the 10th October 1918. “When they couldn’t shoot me in France they tried to drown me” is how he was reported to have responded when questioned about the sinking, but he had clung on to some wreckage and was rescued by an American ship.
John Doyle was described as a “splendid type of citizen, an excellent workman who was never known to shirk work.” He was popular with his ex-soldier colleagues in the Ex-Servicemen Legion in their club house in William Street in Kilkenny and always attended the Armistice Day celebrations. He was living in Archer Street, Kilkenny when he died and the certificate described him as a Labourer.