The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

John Dysart


John Dysart was born in Coleraine, Co Derry on the 18th of August 1881 to Hugh Dysart and Sarah Ramsay. He was one of the younger of their nine children, only five of whom were alive in 1911, four sons and one daughter. Hugh Dysart was a Shoemaker and the family lived in the Laurel Hill / Killowen area of Coleraine. Only the three youngest were living with their parents in 1901, the older, Hugh, was a Tailor and John was a Shoemaker like his father. The two older, Mary Ann and Robert, were married and were living close by in Killowen.

John Dysart married Nancy Hutchinson in November 1908 and moved across the River Bann to Society Street, before moving back to Pate’s Lane off Killowen Street about 1917. They had four children, the eldest, Hugh, only living six days. John’s occupation varied between Labourer and Shoemaker until, on the birth certificate of his youngest child, Robert, in 1917 he said that he was a Private in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. His two older brothers, Robert and Hugh, had also enlisted in the R.I.Fus. with consecutive Service Numbers. His youngest brother, James Stewart, who had married in 1913, gave his occupation on the birth of his second child in 1916 as Private in the 10th R.I.Fus.

So all four Dysart sons were in France, all with young families in Coleraine when Hugh Snr died in 1917 at the age of sixty-five. John was wounded in France in early July 1916 while serving with the 10th Battalion, (Service Number 19787) while Hugh was wounded later the same month. John was transferred to the 12th (Reserve) Battalion and then to the 549th Home Service Employment Company of the Labour Corps, Service Number 464875, a posting for the least fit of available soldiers. The 549th were in the Western Command, in the west of England and Wales.

John would therefore have been travelling to take up duty after leave in Coleraine when he travelled on the 10th of October 1918 on RMS Leinster. He did not survive the sinking but his body was recovered and he was buried in Grangegorman Military Cemetery in Dublin. Tragically, his younger brother James was killed in action in Belgium with the 2nd Battalion of the R.I.Fus. on the 29th of September 1918, and was buried there. The names of both John and James are recorded on the Coleraine War Memorial.



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