The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

Patrick Joseph Fahey

FAHEY, Patrick Joseph

Patrick Joseph (P.J.) Fahey was born on the 6th October 1888 in Tuapeka West, Otago in the South Island of New Zealand. Tuapeka experienced a short-lived gold rush in the 1860s, but P.J.’s father was a sheep farmer. His mother’s name is unknown, nor is it known if he had any siblings.

P.J. enlisted as a Rifleman in November 1916 giving his occupation as ‘Farmer’. He left Wellington in April 1917, arriving in England in June. From early July he was in France and was wounded in action in October 1917, though not seriously. Apart from a brief period in hospital in February he was ‘In the Field’ until granted leave to the UK in late September. He spent some of this leave in Ireland and it was while returning to England that he travelled on RMS Leinster on the 10th October. He spent the previous night in Dublin with an Australian soldier, Michael Roach, and they travelled together on the train to Kingstown. Sitting on the deck, both men spotted the first torpedo, believing it was a porpoise or a whale.

P.J. Fahey survived the sinking of the ship and was taken to the King George V Hospital in Dublin, suffering from shock. He was then transferred to the New Zealand Convalescent Hospital at Hornchurch in Essex. He returned to New Zealand at the beginning of December 1918 and was discharged from the army in February 1919.

He settled again in Tuapeka and continued farming. He married Anne Gertrude Sheehy in 1922 and they had at least one son. P.J. Fahey died in May 1970 in Waimate, Canterbury where he had retired to in the early 1950s.


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